Project Based Learning

Laser-Cutting CDs into Snowflakes

Laser cutters can be used to cut and engrave a variety of thin materials. Compact discs, composed of layers of polycarbonate plastic and aluminum metal, were explored for their ability to be shaped with a laser cutter. The laser can successfully cut and engrave the compact discs into the shape of snowflake. However, each disc must first be coated with a material like glue in order to protect the plastic from discoloration and the byproducts from cutting the plastic that can accumulate on the disc surface.  

Surveying Litter as a Citizen Science Chemistry Activity

During the last few semesters, a small survey has been deployed at Bradley University where students were to describe and classify items of litter that they found. The purposes of the surveys were to get students thinking about some of the chemical implications of solid waste and give the students some experience with a citizen science project. The most recent iteration of the survey, and some of its results, are described.

Context-based Chemistry: Benefits and Challenges

Context-based chemistry aims to make chemistry learning more meaningful for students. With an emphasis on inquiry-based activities, context-based chemistry improves student interest and motivation in chemistry by linking content to real-world situations. Though the idea has been around for over 20 years, researchers are still learning the best strategies for teaching context-based chemistry. Here, we will explore some of the benefits and challenges unearthed up until this point.

The International Scholastic Journal of Science - Publishing the original research of secondary school students.

The International Scholastic Journal of Science is an online, open-access journal that provides the opportunity for secondary students to publish entry-level research and become part of the scientific process. In this blog post I will share information about ISJOS and encourage you to find students that are interested in publishing.