Preceptor Adebanjo Oriade demonstrates how UD undergraduates learn to use mobile devices to collect and analyze scientific data.

Advancing STEM

Statewide education advisory council visits UD's newest laboratory

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1:57 p.m., Dec. 17, 2013--Members of the Delaware STEM Education Council, established by Gov. Jack Markell in 2010 to lead initiatives that foster science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in the state’s schools, met on the UD campus last week and visited new instructional labs.

Before the council’s regular quarterly meeting, which is hosted at varying locations around the state, members stopped by the University’s new Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory (ISE Lab) to see some of its leading-edge classrooms and teaching labs.

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The group was invited to meet on campus by Kate Scantlebury, who is a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, coordinator of secondary science education and director of secondary education in the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as a member of the state STEM council.

Council co-chair Judson Wagner, a former high school physics teacher who now is STEM coordinator for the Brandywine School District, described the ISE Lab facilities as models of “the student-centered classroom.” 

He and other council members saw demonstrations of the building’s flexible instructional spaces, high-tech equipment and small classrooms with adjoining laboratories, all designed to promote problem-based learning in which students work collaboratively and delve into real-world problems.

Council members donned special glasses to view images of the brain projected in a 3-D format, and they heard about ways in which faculty members on ISE Lab’s first floor are working to integrate introductory courses in chemistry with those in biology for undergraduate science students. 

They also sat in on a presentation by preceptor Adebanjo Oriade, who earned his doctorate in physics at UD in 2007 and returned to work with students, graduate teaching assistants and faculty in ISE Lab’s new team approach to teaching and learning.

Oriade demonstrated some of the ways in which students in Physical Science 101 — many of them majoring in elementary education — are learning to use hand-held electronic devices to gather and analyze data and report their results. One student group, for example, made a video of a skateboarder and then analyzed the principles of motion involved in that activity.

“This is a facility that can really make a difference in the way we educate students in STEM,” said John Jungck, director of ISE Lab’s instructional wing, the DuPont Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratories.

“It’s different for the students, it’s different for the professors, but they don’t want to go back.” 

Article by Ann Manser

Photos by Evan Krape

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