RETE 2011 Summer Institute Participants
I am a science teacher in the Littleton school system (SAU 84). I teach chemistry at Littleton High School and eight grade science at Daisy Bronson Middle School. In previous years, I have also taught physical science at Littleton High School and taught an online class in the philosophy of science for Virtual High School (VHS). I have been a public school teacher for 6 years. Prior to becoming a secondary school teacher, I was a lecturer in chemistry at the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) and also an assistant research professor in the cosmochemistry group at the University of Arkansas. I worked on the radiation and thermal history of meteorite and lunar samples. I received my Ph.D. in geological sciences at Lehigh University.
For my summer research project, I worked under Dr. Kevin Gardner and Dr. Emese Hadnagy in the Contaminated Sediments Center in the Department of Civil Engineering. My work focused on treatment of soil and sediments that have been contaminated by industrial waste. Research and small-scale experiments has previously suggested that contaminated sediments can be treated in-situ by pumping in chemical oxidizers. However, there are questions about unanticipated effects of these treatments. My research examined whether metals were released from soil samples after treatment under a range of pH regimes. I found that treatment released some elements, such as copper, but trapped other elements, such as iron, and had no effect on other elements. I also found that the behavior of the elements was also influenced by pH. Future work will focus on additional soil samples and on which minerals in the soils are controlling metal release.
I teach at Pittsburg School in Pittsburg NH. Pittsburg is a small K-12 school in northern NH, I have been teaching there for the past three years. I teach a variety of classes including chemistry, physics, and biology for grades 9-12. My educational background is in life sciences; however I greatly enjoy the variety of classes that I am able to teach.
During the summer RETE program I worked in chemical engineering with Dr. Nivedita Gupta. The lab I was in researches microfluids including studies of interfacial flow, dynamic surface tension, and rheology. During my experience most of my time was devoted to investigating the surface tension of non-Newtonian fluids. I worked to develop an apparatus and method for measuring the surface tension of fluids with elastic properties. These fluids were particularly challenging to work with due to their unique behaviors. Using this method I was able to determine the average and dynamic surface tension for varying concentrations of polyacrylamide (PAM) with varying concentration of X-100 surfactant. I graphed my data in order to determine the critical micelle concentration of TX-100 in the PAM solutions to be between 100-125 ppm. At this point adding more surfactant to the PAM causes no further change in the surface tension. This research has applications in biomedical research, and water and soil quality among other things and will need further investigation.
This experience has helped me to further develop my skills for teaching inquiry in the classroom as well as increasing my understanding of the engineering design process. I have developed two distinct units for use in my classroom which will be piloted this year with my conceptual chemistry and physics classes.
Dawn teaches Computer Literacy and Technology and Design this year. She holds certifications in both Comprehensive Technology Education (which includes engineering, energy, manufacturing, transportation, medical and agricultural tech, communications, & construction) and Computer Technology Education. She is an advisor for Technology Student Association (TSA) chapters and President of the New Hampshire Technology Education Association. Dawn teaches at the Academy of Science and Design, which is a public chartered school in Merrimack, NH.
As a Data Systems Technician and Navy Instructor, Dawn spent most of her eight years in the Navy writing curriculum and teaching electronics, maintenance, and repair in Navy schools and training facilities. As a civilian teacher, Dawn’s background includes work on two National Science Foundation Projects. She has designed and implemented new tech ed programs in three New Hampshire schools, contributed to technology plans and curriculum guides for several school districts, and helped rewrite the technology education guidelines (2008) used by the state of New Hampshire.
In her work with the RETE program, Dawn worked with Brad Kinsey and several of his students making samples and testing aluminum to determine the relationship of strain to stress on the material. Working in the computational analysis lab allowed a great deal of interaction with researchers in other projects of metals deformation as well. Assisting with the assembly of magnetic field equipment for metals deformation and learning to operate several pieces of test equipment helped Dawn develop a practical framework for assisting her students when developing their own research proposals. Application of dedicated software to run complex mathematical analysis proved the value of connecting across fields to use a variety of resources and skills, and emphasized the need for engineers to learn and use networking skills as well as solid research techniques in their work. Building a network of significant professional contacts has already proven to be a terrific asset.
I teach physical science, chemistry, and geology at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton NH.
The research project I was involved with took place in the asphalt lab of the civil engineering dept. The focus was to look at the combined effects of aging and moisture on asphalt concretes composed of all virgin material and those with high RAP contents to determine if there is a difference in material properties that could result in changes to pavement performance
Value of the Experience: For me, the most valuable part of the experience was the research process itself. I love designing experiments, collecting data and making sense of it all. Participating in this summer research was an opportunity to keep those skills fresh and get exposure to work that is taking place in the world outside that classroom. Bringing that real life experience back into the classroom gives credibility to the learning and engages students on a different level. Also the connections made with the others on the project can be a valuable asset since they expressed a willingness to come into the classroom and share their expertise when we start the experiment.
I teach Physical Science with Earth and Space Science to 9th graders at Central High School in Manchester, NH
With the University of New Hampshire and the National Science Foundation, under the direction of Diane Foster, studied the “Sediment Analysis of Near Shore Sediments at Two New England Beaches.” The goal of this investigation was to relate morphologic characteristics of two near shore beaches, Hampton Beach in New Hampshire and Ogunquit Beach in Maine. Differential GPS was used to identify the sediment samples location on each beach. A base location for the differential GPS equipment was either a benchmark previously chosen by the USGS or was selected as a location capable of maintaining a constant GPS signal. A three - wheeled rover and portable GPS allowed for observations of the seafloor elevations. Following the survey, sediment samples were processed in the lab according to ASTM standards where sediment was dried to eliminate organic material. The grain size distribution of the sediments was determined by sieving the sediments.
More course sediment was found closer to the berm or higher on the beach, while the smaller grain size or more fine particles were highest closer to the water. In contrast with Hampton beach, Ogunquit beach sediment was narrow banded with negligible course grained sediment.