Program for 2018 IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference (ISEC)
Saturday, March 10
|08:00 am-04:00 pm||Registration and Breakfast in McDonnell Hall (Brush Gallery)||All-day Exhibits, Demonstrations, and K-12 Posters|
|08:50 am-09:00 am||Opening Note in A02 McDonnell Hall|
|09:00 am-10:00 am||Keynote Talk (in Room A02 McDonnell Hall)|
|10:20 am-11:50 am||Integrated K-12 and Outreach Programs - I||Community-based Outreach and Pre-College Initiatives - I||Inclusive STEM Outreach Programs||Computing in STEM Education - I||Integration in Higher Ed. -I|
|12:00 pm-01:00 pm||Lunch and Networking in McDonnell Hall (Brush Gallery)|
|01:00 pm-02:00 pm||Focus on Posters and Exhibits in A02 McDonnell Hall|
|02:00 pm-04:30 pm||Integrated K-12 and Outreach Programs - II||Community-based Outreach and Pre-College Initiatives - II||Integration in Higher Ed. -II||Computing in STEM Education - II||Integration in Higher Ed. - III|
Saturday, March 10 8:00 - 8:45
Registration and Breakfast in McDonnell Hall (Brush Gallery)
Saturday, March 10 8:00 - 4:00
All-day Exhibits, Demonstrations, and K-12 Posters
Chair: Ralph Tillinghast (US Army & CCDC Armaments Center, Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, USA)
Saturday, March 10 8:50 - 9:00
Opening Note in A02 McDonnell Hall
ISEC'18 General Co-chairs
Chair: Vignesh Subbian (University of Arizona, USA)
Saturday, March 10 9:00 - 10:00
Keynote Talk (in Room A02 McDonnell Hall)
Elie Bou-Zeid, PhD
Chair: Ashutosh Dutta (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Labs (JHU/APL), USA)
Saturday, March 10 10:20 - 11:50
Integrated K-12 and Outreach Programs - I
Chair: Susie Kim (Polytechnic School, USA)
- 10:20 Inspiring High School Students to Engage with Current Issues in Science and Medicine with an Interdisciplinary Course entitled Science and Literature of Disease
- This paper describes a new interdisciplinary course entitled Science and Literature of Disease offered since 2015 for second-semester high school seniors at Polytechnic School, a college-preparatory school in Pasadena, CA. The course is taught by a physician and an English teacher who initiated this course to inspire the students to identify, understand, and analyze timely issues in science and medicine. Each year, approximately 15-20 students enroll and obtain credit for a science elective and AP English Literature. Students also receive credit toward receiving a Global Initiatives Certificate from Polytechnic School's Global Initiative Program (GIP). The course is student-driven and incorporates timely issues in science and disease identified by the instructors and students. Students respond positively to the course. Medical topics include the plague, tuberculosis, malaria, cancer, and AIDS. Students read Susan Sontag's Illness as Metaphor, Leo Tolstoy's Death of Ivan Ilyich, Gabriel García Márquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, On Doctoring edited by Reynolds and Stone, Cameron Conway's Malaria Poems, Somerset Maugham's Sanatorium, and excerpts from Boccaccio's Decameron. Key lessons learned are presented. Feedback from the students seems to indicate that this environment fosters a sense that the students cherish the course and the contributions of their peers, and reasons are discussed.
- 10:35 Robofest Carnival - STEM Learning through Robotics with Parents
- It has been widely known that introducing robotics in formal and informal learning environments improves STEM learning as well as problem solving skills. An underutilized resource in this process of teaching STEM is parents. Robofest Carnival is an informal learning program with multiple interactive challenge learning stations where students are challenged to complete robotics tasks. A new approach for the Carnival was explored. Instead of technical staff, parents of participants were trained to manage the challenge learning stations. Ongoing research shows that the Carnival program increased the students' knowledge of STEM subjects. In addition, it dramatically increased STEM confidence level of parents who took training and assisted the Carnival learning stations. We believe the Carnival model is a practical and effective informal robotics learning environment to improve student achievement in STEM and increase parents' confidence in their children's education.
- 10:50 Integrating Science Through Authentic Research in Secondary Schools
- The growing recognition that interdisciplinary approaches are needed to solve the most pressing issues in the modern world has led to a renewed focus on pedagogical integration particularly across STEM disciplines. While valuable, combinations of STEM disciplines ignore the unique aspects of science and the need to integrate both across and within the scientific disciplines themselves. Using multiple examples of student research projects, we highlight the ways in which authentic research at the secondary school level provides a natural platform for science integration and offers distinct benefits compared to research at the undergraduate level. Challenges associated with the implementation of authentic student research in secondary schools are discussed.
- 11:05 Implementing High School Mathematics and Engineering Competencies: The RDFZ Integrated STEM Inquiry Research Program and Practice
- In this paper, we discuss STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) inquiry research program in the High School Affiliated to Renmin University (RDFZ) in the context of domestic high school curriculum reform in China. After introducing the STEM related official polices and measures issued by the Ministry of Education, we introduces the idea, curriculum setting, assessment and implementation timeline of STEM Inquiry Research Program in RDFZ. Then we take three cases in mathematics and engineering fields as instances to demonstrate our practices. The innovative idea is to construct an opening community to implement flexible talent cultivation including introducing the cutting-edge technology to students' research scope; joint industry-school cooperation enhancing real situation problem; intercultural peer cooperation both in students and teachers counterpart. Based on these meaningful practices, we have achieved inspiring results: novel integrated STEM curriculum model and cases such as couple-disciplinary, star-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary structure; new-style relationship of teaching and learning teacher-student collaborative scientific research; encouraging students to publish their scientific results; implementing students' key competencies based on project based learning in real situation; enriching students academic interests and career exploration and bridging the gap between basic and higher education.
- 11:20 Integrating Algebra, Geometry, Music, 3D Art, and Technology using Emoticoding
- 11:35 An Electric Karting Camp to Attract High School Students to a STEM Career: Phase 2
- The Purdue Polytechnic-South Bend has been offering an electric karting camp since 2013. The camp, open to high school students, is designed to give these students a sampling of the technologies and theories involved in electric vehicles. The original targeted audience was juniors and seniors in high school, with the idea being to influence them to pursue STEM as a major in college. For a variety of reasons the camp has more and more been attended by freshmen and sophomores instead. This has required a change in content and philosophy of the sessions of the camp. This paper describes this evolution as the participants have become younger.
Community-based Outreach and Pre-College Initiatives - I
Chair: John Moore (Institute for Earth Observations at Palmyra Cove, USA)
- 10:20 Towards playful learning and computational thinking - developing the educational robot BRICKO
- Educational Robotics has proven a feasible way of supporting and exemplifying Computational Thinking. With this paper, we describe the user-centered iterative and incremental development of a new educational robotic system, BRICKO, to support tangible, social and playful interaction while educating children in 1st - 3rd grade in Computational Thinking. We develop the system through seven main iterations including a total of 108 participant pupils and their teachers. The methodology is a mixture of observation and interviews using Wizard of OZ testing with the early pilot prototypes as well as usability and user experience testing with the following incrementally improved digital prototypes. Our results for development and evaluation are presented for each iteration leading onto the next and describes the evolution of both the BRICKO driving robot as well as the BRICKO programming-board and its different categories of command-bricks. We discuss the methodologies used for assuring a playful and social educational robotic system and conclude that we achieved a useful prototype for supporting education in Computational Thinking.
- 10:35 CIRCUIT Summer Program: A computational neuroscience outreach experience for high-achieving undergraduates via sponsored research
- Programs that focus on student outreach are often disjoint from sponsored research efforts, despite the mutually beneficial opportunities that are possible with a combined approach. We designed and piloted a program to simultaneously meet the needs of underserved students and a large-scale sponsored research goal. Our program trained undergraduates to produce neuron maps for a major connectomics effort (i.e., single synapse brain maps), while providing these students with the resources and mentors to conduct novel research. Students were recruited from Johns Hopkins University to participate in a ten-week summer program. These students were trained in computational research, scientific communication skills and methods to map electron microscopy volumes. The students also had regular exposure to mentors and opportunities for guided, small group, independent discovery. A Learning-for-Use model was leveraged to provide the students with the tools, skills, and knowledge to pursue their research questions, while an Affinity Research Group model was adapted to provide students with mentorship in conducting cutting-edge research. A focus was placed on recruiting students who had limited opportunities and access to similar experiences. Program metrics demonstrated a substantial increase in knowledge (e.g., neuroscience, graph theory, machine learning, and scientific communication), while students also showed an overall increase in awareness and responsiveness to computational research after the program. Ultimately, the program positively impacted students' career choices and research readiness, and successfully achieved sponsor goals in a compact timeframe. This framework for combining outreach with sponsored research can be broadly leveraged for other programs across domains.
- 10:50 Learning with Social Robots - The World Robot Summit's Approach
- It is anticipated that in the near future, social robots will become integral part of schools to enhance student learning experience. This paper reports students' experience through a new robotics competition with social robots for primary and secondary school students. The Junior category of the World Robot Summit (WRS) offers a new robotics competition for students focusing on the Co-Bot experience (human-robot co-existence), hosted by the Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). The social robot that is used in the World Robot Summit is Pepper, a sophisticated humanoid robot, offered by SoftBank Robotics. This paper focuses on students' experience as active users of social robots through the School Robot Challenge Workshop and Trial 2017 held in Tokyo, Japan in August 2017, where they programmed and/or developed solutions for the tasks using social robots. There were 13 teams from various countries participated in the two-and-half day workshop to learn to program Pepper, and two-day trial competition where they demonstrated their work. During the two-day trial, although there were some technical glitches, all 13 teams demonstrated their solutions and performance they developed with their Co-Bot ideas developed during the workshop.
- 11:05 Comparing Effectiveness of STEM Outreach Venues Utilizing Engineering Challenges
- Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) outreach still continues to be a viable method to grow young minds interest in these key disciplines. STEM outreach can be found in a verity of forms and duration. This paper utilizes an established engineering challenge based STEM outreach workshop to understand the utilization of different venues for conducting outreach. The engineering challenge STEM outreach workshop is presented in detail. Discussion of the different venues utilized is also provided. Further, survey findings are presented showing STEM interest levels of students before and after participating in the workshop event
- 11:20 Union College EDGE Program: Inspiring High School Girls to Pursue Engineering
- We describe a residential summer program held at Union College in Schenectady NY for high school girls to introduce them to engineering. The program aims to enhance the girls' interest in engineering and the college experience, their understanding of the engineering design process and the various fields of engineering, and to help them develop a network of mentors. The primary program strategy is to employ a theme of "Toys and Tools for Children with Special Needs" to illustrate the humanitarian benefits of engineering. Field trips, networking events, and social activities supplement the academic components to provide real-life examples of engineering fields and exposure to college life. The impact of the program is measured by periodic surveys of past participants. In the most recent survey, with a 23% response rate, over 95% of respondents indicated that the program had an influence on their education and career choices, and 84% have pursued STEM fields. Although there may be challenges in attracting those students with the most need for this program, it is a sustainable and effective model that could be emulated by other institutions with similar goals.
- 11:35 Predictors of Success in Applied STEM Education through Guitar Building
- This research examined the predictors of success for secondary and postsecondary students taught by STEM Guitar Project-trained instructors. Each instructor participated in a 50-hour STEM Guitar Project development institute between 2013 and 2016 focusing on the manufacture of a solid-body electric guitar and received instruction focused on how to teach integrated STEM Modular Learning Activities (MLAs), which are aligned with the Common Core mathematics standards and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The data collected include pre- and post-assessment scores from 769 students in three grade bands (grades 6-8, 9-12, and undergraduate level from 15 states). Student mastery of the 12 core MLA concepts was measured through the deployment of pre- and post-assessments evaluating student knowledge across the 12 core concepts. The analysis of student scores showed significant improvement between pre- and post-assessment scores. The significant predictors of success included the percentage of minority students at the school and the STEM Guitar curriculum being taught by a science instructor. These findings indicate that students attending schools with a high percentage of minority students are more likely to increase their assessment score from the pre-assessment to the post-assessment. These data show encouraging results for using the electric guitar as a vehicle to teach integrated STEM concepts to secondary and postsecondary students, particularly at institutions with a high percentage of minority students.
Inclusive STEM Outreach Programs
Chair: Bernadette Sibuma (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA)
- 10:20 The Wisdom of our Native American Tribes: Advanced Math, Science and Culture for the future
- This paper discusses the advanced mathematic skills and numerical systems developed by three main Native American tribes: the Incas, the Aztecs, and the Maya; and explores how these communities applied those systems and how they are still valid today. In addition, potential uses of these numerical systems with the dual intentions of improving both current technologies and current educational programs, such as STEM initiatives within K-12 curriculums in underserved Latin American communities are evaluated.
- 10:35 Equal Accessibility to Computer Science Classes in High Schools in California
- In this paper, we provide a statistical analysis of data from the California Department of Education to determine whether students of different ethnic and gender backgrounds are equally represented in computer science classes in California. Contrary to public perception, we found that every ethnic demographic was accurately represented in the classroom. The percentage of students of each demographic matched in the classroom the percentage of students in each demographic for the state. We found that this representation does not depend on gender. The ethnic distribution of male students in computer science match the ethnic distribution of the state of California. Similarly, the ethnic distribution of female students in computer science match the ethnic distribution of the state of California. We found that, despite inclusion efforts, female students are still a minority in these classes. Only 15% of schools with computer science programs have enrollment of at least 50% female. Related research suggests that the most effective way to include female students is to integrate STEM programs into the school curriculum at an early age before girls start to associate with gender stereotypes.
- 10:50 People Like Me: Providing Relatable and Realistic Role Models for Underrepresented Minorities in STEM to Increase their Motivation and Likelihood of Success
- Despite efforts to increase participation of racial and ethnic minorities (excluding Asians) in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the United States, this group remains underrepresented in these fields. Many efforts to increase minority participation focus on support structures to help this group "get through" the pipeline. However, less attention has been paid to increasing their intrinsic motivation to pursue careers in STEM. Our work is focused on increasing this intrinsic motivation, looking at role models as external influences. Underrepresented minorities are faced with a limited role model pool and in many cases with role models (who we call outliers) whose paths to success and extraordinary achievements are difficult to emulate for the large majority of students. In this study of a representative sample of underrepresented minority students at a predominantly white small private liberal arts university, we show that students are accepting of non-outlier role models who are relatable and embody the qualities typically associated with the existing role models that they value. The evidence suggests that a larger more diverse pool of role models, that represent more feasible paths to success, can be created for this group. We envision a "People Like Me" website based on such a pool as a tool for increasing motivation and persistence of underrepresented minorities in their pursuit of STEM professions.
- 11:05 The College Prep Program at APL: An Experiential Model to Help High-Achieving, Underserved Students Trailblaze and Achieve Success
- Data show that many high school students, especially those from underserved or underrepresented backgrounds, are unsuccessful in achieving a four-year college degree, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers. These young scholars often have strong potential and ambitious dreams, but face significant structural barriers in achieving their goals, resulting in substantial opportunity and knowledge gaps. We have developed a novel approach to help these students prepare for college admissions and achieve college success through intensive mentoring by STEM professionals and support through technology innovations. We developed a comprehensive, competency-based curriculum that includes academics, application preparation, essay development, financial aid, test preparation and college visits. Students complete a capstone portfolio project at the end of the summer intervention, and we continue to provide longitudinal support throughout their high school and college years. Over the past nine summers we implemented our model with an all-volunteer staff to achieve significant, measurable results: 168 students have participated in the program; 98% of surveyed program alumni are on-track to earning their four-year college degrees; and the majority plan to earn degrees in STEM and to pursue a graduate degree. Our outcomes significantly outperform both students from similar backgrounds and the overall student population. In this manuscript, we provide an overview of our model, insights into how this approach may be extended to other communities and suggestions for evaluating program efficacy in a data-driven framework.
- 11:20 Grade-level Participation in the AP Curriculum
- Since its inception in 1955, the Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum has grown and evolved -- both in terms of the number of subjects and the number of students attempting the AP tests. Students take AP classes to position themselves better for college admissions, to earn college credit, or to simply pursue their passion and interest. Although the AP program is designed primarily for high school students, participation among the younger students has increased over the years. In this paper, I seek to understand the participation in the different AP subjects among high school and pre- high school students. I analyze the data published by the College Board from the May 2016 AP examination made available on Kaggle. I divide the AP subjects into six categories as suggested by the College Board, and compute the preferences for the subjects in each category for four grades of high school and a single group of pre- high school students. I find that the preferences for AP subjects vary dramatically through the four years of high school. Moreover, the preferences in the pre- high school group are definitively different from the four high school grades; with younger students choosing more difficult subjects. I conclude the paper by providing detailed insights into these observations and their implications.
- 11:35 Project iSWEST: Promoting a Culture of Innovation in Africa through STEM
- Technological innovation has the potential to speed up development. However, in most African countries the education system is largely theoretical in nature with inadequate attention to STEM education. In effect, students leave school lacking critical skills which are necessary in today's global economy. We developed and implemented a project-based learning program to provide hands on STEM education to 27 high school students in Ghana through which students developed solutions to real-life problems in Ghana's agricultural sector. Our evaluation of the program revealed a statistically significant improvement in students' self-reported proficiency of the innovation process and core coding concepts. All the students reported that they had been inspired to solve problems in their communities and would recommend others to attend the program. Hence, given the results reported here, our program can serve as a tool to introduce high school students to innovation and real-world problem solving. Our Project iSWEST model can be implemented in other African countries to promote a culture of innovation and help catalyze development.
Computing in STEM Education - I
Chair: Merlinda Drini (City College of the City University of New York, USA)
- 10:20 Serious Games: Quality Characteristics Evaluation Framework and Case Study
- The use of serious games in teaching and training is increasing; however, there is a lack of suitable evaluation frameworks to evaluate the different quality characteristics in the serious games. This study highlights previous evaluation frameworks and then emphasizes different quality characteristics that have been used in evaluating serious games. The study divided the discussed quality characteristics into primary and secondary characteristics based on their use in the literature. The study proposes a framework to evaluate several dimensions of serious games by choosing and combining appropriate quality characteristics. Robocode is a programming serious game, was used as a case study in which the framework has been applied to it where fifteen students in Queen's University Belfast played the game and evaluated different quality characteristics based on the proposed framework. The results showed that Robocode overall evaluation is good; however, the framework recommends changes to be applied to the game to increase the game understandability to be played by the users without the need for supervision or tutors.
- 10:35 Using New Methodologies in Teaching Computer Programming
- This paper presents the implementation of additional learning methods in teaching computer programming techniques in an undergraduate computer engineering education course. In the first semesters of this study, (2013-2014), a traditional instructional delivery of the computer programming was used. In the following semesters (2014-2016), project based service-learning and active learning was employed, as an evaluation tool to assess the students' motivation to learn. Their learning outcomes were compared to the first semester students' outcomes, known as a control group. We present the results conducted in six successive semesters, where total of 75 students participated. The results indicate that using active learning strategies increase their active participation and the ability to think logically, while engaging students in service-learning, gives them the opportunity to broaden their educational experience outside classroom projects, and boosts their self-efficacy.
- 10:50 Leveraging Avid Use of Technology in Software Engineering Education
- Most undergraduate computing students have limited professional software development experience due to which they lack the motivation to study software engineering, which is a mandatory course in their curricula. To compensate for this inherent lack of motivation, instructors of introductory software engineering courses continually devise novel strategies to enhance the appeal of SE education. These strategies seek to tie key SE concepts to industrial practices as well as students' real-life experiences. This paper presents one such approach; it leverages the prevailing reality that most computing students are now avid users of software technology. The approach consists of developing "focused questions", where each question pertains to a specific SE concept, technique, or a best practice. Students are then asked to find evidence that illustrates this concept from their everyday encounters with technology. This paper analyzes the students' responses from two such focused questions. The analysis finds the students' responses to be thoughtful, broad, diverse, well rationalized, nuanced and deeply anchored in their own personal experiences. Moreover, the responses also highlight the students' knowledge and awareness of how software is now an integral part of the social and cultural landscape. Finally, anecdotal comments written by the students while reviewing the course at the end of the semester indicate that the students received this focused question approach in a positive light. They view it as a way to bring realism into the classroom, to keep them engaged and to encourage class participation.
- 11:05 Digital Piracy, Technology, the Legal System and Computing Education
- Technology is evolving at an incredible pace, meanwhile, the evolution of law is struggling to keep pace with technology. The reactive nature of law leads to a negative impact due to a lack of preparedness to handle the novel technological innovations. Further prohibiting the adequate advancement of law, many judges and attorneys lack the requisite technical knowledge to accurately argue existing laws or to craft new laws to sufficiently respond to technological innovation. This lack of understanding leads to misapplication of the law and inappropriate hindrance of technology. This paper examines the origin and evolution of Copyright law in the United States, together with efforts to stem digital piracy. It then details the development of an educational module focused on user education on copyright and intellectual property that would be deployed in introductory computing courses or provided as resource to legal professionals.
- 11:20 Dynamic Hierarchical Learning Material for Educational Institutions
- This research presents a new method to address the high cost of textbooks and learning resources. The method is called the Dynamic Hierarchical Learning Material and it consists of developing learning material in small sections. These sections can be dynamically put together in different ways to create learning material for different classes. By considering learning material at an institutional level, one can identify redundancies. Material can be created through the use of Creative Commons material or custom written material. Learning material is organized into Learning Nodes. Learning Nodes can be combined in different combinations to create textbooks. Because Learning Nodes can appear in multiple textbooks, it eliminates redundancy. A number of technologies are presented that can be used to construct Learning Nodes and finished material, including word processors, content management systems and learning management systems. The University of Maryland University College used this approach to create the first ever introduction to programming class were students can select the programming language(s) that they would like to learn. The course then dynamically customized to the student's interest creating a unique experience. Because students that want to learn different programming languages can all be in the same online class, it saves the university money by having fewer partially filled sections of a class.
- 11:35 Killing two birds with one stone: educating students about the impact of cell-phone usage while creating metrics for the prediction of student performance in an undergraduate computer science class
- The high usage of cell-phones amongst students attending college appears to be impacting their attention spans and performance. Rather than admonishing students for the usage of cell-phones in class, we explore a different approach. The intervention explored in this paper consists of assigning the students a recent article about the effect of cell-phones on productivity and asking the students to complete a short reflection essay on this article. The study was conducted on 40 undergraduate students in a course on Assembly Language Programming in Fall 2017. The results of this intervention indicate that students are not aware of the recent research in the relationships between cell-phone usage and productivity. A survey gauged the impact of this article on the students. Nearly 97% of the respondents reported that their awareness of the negative impact of cell-phone usage on productivity increased. 78% of the respondents indicated that they were able to apply this awareness advantageously to become more productive in other courses. In addition to observing this positive change in student behavior, a simple metric was applied to the reflection essay submitted by the students. The word count of this essay had a correlation of 0.38 (p = 0.026) with the final grade for the course. This metric was computed within the first week of the course, and has reasonable predictive power to identify students who may need extra attention. This has the potential to improve student retention
Integration in Higher Ed. -I
Chair: Richard K. Martin (Air Force Institute of Technology, USA)
- 10:20 Embedded Controlled Gardening: An Academically Based Service Course
- A course intended to integrate concepts of basic physics, biology, electronics, and systems engineering for the benefit of University of Pennsylvania engineering students, plus teachers and students from three community public schools located in Philadelphia. The course engaged participants in the design and the implementation of an indoor cultivating system using photo-voltaic technology to energize Light Emitting Diodes emulating the needed solar radiation for plant growth, a liquid nutrient distribution system, sensors / actuators capable of selecting the harvestable plants and keeping track of overall system parameters.
- 10:35 Development of an Embedded System Course to teach the Internet-of-things
- In this paper, we present the development of new course modules in the field of embedded systems, dedicated to teaching students about the internet-of-things. We discuss important issues in creating hands-on labs for students in such a course, along with the experience of teaching this course at the graduate level. We expect other instructors interested in this area to benefit from our experience. We also offer suggestions to adapt this course to undergraduate students. Our main finding is that students are very excited to learn about cutting-edge technologies, including fast growing programming languages and platforms. Specific hands-on laboratory exercises were developed on the Raspberry Pi platform in Python to teach students about the end-to-end processing involved in acquiring, analyzing, storing and transmitting sensor data involving temperature. These lab exercises provided students with a detailed understanding of the end-to-end processing involved in internet-of-things applications, including sensory data acquisition, storage, transmission, retrieval and analytics. The lab exercises made the material accessible and engaging. This addresses one of the barriers to students entering and staying in STEM fields, which is the perceived dullness of the material taught.
- 10:50 Low-cost Wearable Human-Computer Interface with Conductive Fabric for STEM Education
- As technology plays an ever-expanding role in our lives, interdisciplinary skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are becoming an increasingly valuable asset in the job market. Unfortunately, STEM education programs, especially those introducing students to cutting-edge research, are often based around equipment that may be cost-prohibitive or difficult to acquire, severely restricting the reach of workshops and programs to inspire and encourage students to pursue STEM careers. Here we present a systematic guide to a low-cost (<$10 per student) outreach workshop on wearable electronics for middle school students (also appropriate for high school students with some minor modifications). The students use basic craft skills to fabricate a wearable human-computer interface using commercially available materials. The device is interfaced with a computer via open-source hardware and software, using the universal serial bus (USB) human interface device (HID) protocol. The workshop exposes students to wearable technologies, a rapidly growing and exciting sub-domain of the electronics industry that sold over 100 million devices in 2016, and provides a fun and engaging hands-on activity that draws connections between fashion, technology, and personal electronics.
- 11:05 Modular Electronics for Broadening Non-Expert Participation in STEM Innovation: An IoT Perspective
- STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiatives like makerspaces, open-source projects, engineering education etc., influence each other in a larger STEM ecosystem. This ecosystem extends beyond the traditional academic classroom into independent non-expert spaces and large corporate environments, and is critical to the innovative design of novel, efficient, and user-specific Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Although development boards have been commonly used in STEM programs and by engineers for initial design prototyping, these boards are not an ideal solution for non-expert users. Existing development boards lack the flexibility required to enable the rapid development and easy personalization of emerging IoT devices. In this paper, we survey modular electronic technologies used for education and suggest that modular electronics are the sustainable solution for a lightweight, versatile, and easily personalized generation of electronic devices. Modular electronics are application specific circuit pieces that can be combined in different configurations to create many different common devices like mobile phones or tablets. Modular electronics address obvious gaps in the STEM ecosystem, and consequently, the IoT space by allowing rapid prototyping and user-controlled reconfigurability.
- 11:20 Novel Approach for Cybersecurity Workforce Development: A Course in Secure Design
- Training the future cybersecurity workforce to respond to emerging threats requires introduction of novel educational interventions in the cybersecurity curricula. To be effective, these interventions have to incorporate trending knowledge from both the cybersecurity and other related domains while allowing for experiential learning through hands-on experimentation. So far, the traditional interdisciplinary approach for cybersecurity training infused political science, law, economics or linguistics knowledge into the cybersecurity curriculum, allowing for limited experimentation. Cybersecurity students were left little opportunity to acquire knowledge, skills, and abilities in other than these domains. Also, students outside majors had no options to get into cybersecurity. Motivated by this, we developed an interdisciplinary course for experiential learning in the fields of cybersecurity and interaction design. The inaugural course teaches students from cybersecurity, user interaction design, and visual design the principles of designing for secure use - or secure design - and allows them to apply them for prototyping of Internet-of-Things (IoT) products for smart homes. This paper elaborates on the concepts of secure design and how our approach enhances the training of the future cybersecurity workforce.
- 11:35 Learning Style Analysis of Engineering and Technology Freshmen
- This paper presents the results obtained from applying the Index of Learning Styles questionnaire to Engineering and Technology initial students, their scores in the National Higher Education Entrance Exam (ENES) and their scores on the leveling course of the "Escuela Politécnica Nacional" (EPN) University in Ecuador. The purpose is to analyze the current state of the students that are allowed to study at EPN and to measure the impact of their learning styles on their performance. In order to obtain the relationship between the different scores taken into account, linear and nonlinear correlations, analysis distribution and cluster analysis were used.
Saturday, March 10 12:00 - 1:00
Lunch and Networking in McDonnell Hall (Brush Gallery)
Saturday, March 10 1:00 - 2:00
Focus on Posters and Exhibits in A02 McDonnell Hall
Chair: Wei-hsing Wang (Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science, USA)
- Testing the Capacity of Polyethylene Mesh as Strengthening Aggregate for Concrete
- The research is about testing the capacity of plastic - polyethylene mesh as strengthening aggregate for concrete. The research focuses on testing the compressive strength of concrete with the addition of 1 - 2 sheets of polyethylene mesh with the hypothesis: "If 2 sheets of polyethylene mesh is added to the concrete, then the concrete will have the highest compressive strength." The hypothesis was tested through an experimentation and a statistical test (F-Test). The results show that the set-up with the two sheets of polyethylene mesh has the highest compressive strength among all the set-ups, proving the researchers' hypothesis correct. The concluding results from this study can benefit many aspects in the field of engineering and construction such as building houses and reinforcing structures.
- Comparing the Sleep Quality Between STEM Student Athletes and Non-Athletes: An Exploratory Study
- This research aims to study the effect of physical activity on a student's sleep quality through the comparison between STEM student athletes and non-athletes. For the research study, a total population of sixty-three participants was surveyed from the Grade 12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Strand of La Salle Green Hills. The researchers gathered data using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index to assess the sleep quality individuals using several components that produce a numerical score ranging from 0 - 21 with a score of five and below indicating good sleep quality. Athletes produced a mean score of 7.42 while non-athletes scored a mean of 7.91. It was concluded that both student athletes and non-athletes do not receive good sleep quality despite the physical activity engaged by athletes. Furthermore, the statistical test: Z Test for two sample means, concluded that there was no significant difference in the sleep quality of student athletes and non-athletes. It has been exhibited through the study that changes need to be implemented to the lifestyles of students for them to be able to perform well both in their academics and respective sports. It is recommended that future studies utilize a larger population size as well as considering other factors that may affect a person's sleep quality.
- Improving Recognition Accuracy of Handwritten And Printed Characters Under Imperfect Conditions
- This research primarily focuses on improving the accuracy of optical character recognition, a conversion of handwritten or printed text into electronically encoded text, under imperfect conditions. Before searching for ways improving the recognition accuracy, the research is dedicated in comparing different optical character recognition algorithms to find out the recognition algorithm with the best accuracy. As optical character recognition requires training a large set of data, a feasible and accurate training algorithm is required. Four algorithms including binary perceptron, linear perceptron, artificial neural network, and convolutional neural network were coded and compared. The result indicates that artificial neural network and convolutional neural network have higher and better accuracies in making decision boundaries for recognition. However, as imperfect conditions such as poor resolution, illumination, and angle of the input image are commonly seen, better location segmentation, pre-processing, segmentation, and error elimination are required to eliminate the noises caused by these poor conditions. For the future plan, the research will focus on improving the pre-processing methods to increase the accuracy of handwritten and printed character recognition. Either artificial neural network or convolutional neural network will be incorporated with the pre-processing methods suggested by this research to develop an optical character recognition structure dealing with the imperfect conditions.
- Evolutionary Analyses of RNA Editing and Amino Acid Recoding in Cephalopods
- RNA editing is a post-transcriptional modification process that alters the nucleotides of RNA transcripts and thus can create transcripts not directly coded in the genome. The deanimation of adenosine to inosine (read as a guanine by translational machinery) by ADAR enzymes is the most common type of RNA editing in mammals. In general, RNA edits that result in an amino acid substitution (amino acid recoding) are extremely rare, and most editing sites in humans and other model organisms have been shown to be non-adaptive (Pinto et al., 2014; Xu and Zhang, 2014). In contrast, it was recently discovered that in soft-bodied cephalopods (octopus, squid, cuttlefish) A-to-I RNA editing is widespread and many recoding edits are conserved across cephalopod species (Liscovitch-Brauer et al., 2017). Interestingly, amino acid recoding from RNA editing is most abundant in neural tissues and edited transcripts are enriched in functions related to nervous system development, suggesting that RNA editing may contribute to the notable intelligence and behavioral complexity of cephalopods. To further characterize the nature of RNA editing in cephalopods, we analyzed the ratio of radical to conservative amino acid amino acid substitutions caused by RNA editing. Radical amino acid substitutions are those that change a physicochemical property (e.g. a negatively charged amino acid substituted for a positively charged amino acid) while conservative amino acid substitutions do not result in such a change. Radical amino acid substitutions are more likely to have a deleterious effect on protein function and thus a lower R/C ratio reflects stronger purifying selection. Our results show that cephalopods have a lower R/C ratio for amino acid recoding substitutions compared to humans, mice, and fruit flies. These results further support the idea that RNA editing is under selection in cephalopods and likely contributes to important biological functions. In order to examine the specific effects of RNA editing on individual genes, we developed a "protein diversity score" that quantitatively assesses the amount of combinatorial protein diversity created by RNA editing for a particular gene. This score incorporates the level of RNA editing (% of transcripts edited) and the physicochemical nature of the amino acid substitution (more radical substitutions are more likely to affect protein structure and function). Using this metric, we derived a candidate list of 100 genes that have a high amount of protein diversity created by RNA editing across the four cephalopod species that were studied. Several notable features of these genes are examined and discussed. This list of candidate genes provides directions for future research into the biological functions of RNA editing and the basis of nervous system complexity in cephalopods. Works Cited N. Liscovitch-Brauer et al., Trade-off between Transcriptome Plasticity and Genome Evolution in Cephalopods. Cell. 169, 191-202.e11 (2017). Y. Pinto, H. Y. Cohen, E. Y. Levanon, Mammalian conserved ADAR targets comprise only a small fragment of the human editosome. Genome Biol. 15, R5 (2014). G. Xu, J. Zhang, Human coding RNA editing is generally nonadaptive. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 111, 3769-3774 (2014).
- Investigating Neglected Memories in Targeted Memory Reactivation
- Sleep has a well-established memory function, and reactivation of memory traces during sleep is thought to be the underlying mechanism for long-term memory retention. Targeted Memory Reactivation (TMR) utilizes this function to selectively reactivate and strengthen memories encoded during wakefulness. This is achieved by presenting a stimulus associated with the targeted memory, such as an auditory cue, during sleep. While TMR has been shown to successfully bias spatial, emotional, and skill memory, there has been little exploration regarding the effect it has on untargeted memories, i.e. if targeting certain memories causes others to be neglected. To test this possibility, I ran sleep trials in which subjects performed a spatial memory training task on a touchscreen with an iOS app I co-designed. Subjects were asked to memorize the location of images, each of which was presented along with a distinct auditory stimulus, thus associating the image with the sound. Subjects were then tested on their retention of the locations. In the following sleep phase, subjects in trial 1 received the associated auditory cues for 50% of images, while those in trial 2 received none. I hypothesized that memory retention of non-cued images for subjects in trial 1 would be lower than in those with no TMR taking place, due to the selectivity and limited capacity of memory consolidation. After 90 minutes of sleep, subjects were awoken and asked to take a posttest identical to the pre-test. All research was conducted in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. Contrary to expectation, the retention rate of uncued memories within control subjects was significantly lower than uncued memories within experimental subjects (who received cuing), demonstrating that TMR does not negatively influence neglected memories. Additionally testing will be performed to confirm these results and ensure that TMR was performed adequately enough to bias cued memories.
- Automating Reconstruction of Focused Ion Beam Current Density Distribution
- Processing features of Focused Ion Beam (FIB) on layers of ion implantation demands understanding of FIB-to-material interaction within the area of ion beam impact. Developing such understanding requires tools for estimating current density distribution within the area of single ion beam. FIB profile reconstruction methodology was recently developed, but relies on multiple HR-TEM micrographs and is difficult to implement with limited resources. We propose a simplified, simulation-based methodology for reconstructing the FIB profile from sputtering and implantation information available on cross-sectional TEM micrographs of the single beam width lines etched by FIB. The reconstructed beam profile was applied to analysis of a single line etching experiment to gain insight into details of gas-assisted etching and deposition within the area of ion beam impact. Reconstructing the cross-section images requires extraction of key features, namely the etching and implementation margins from the images, and we developed an R Shiny online website to extract and best fit the two margins.
- Exploring use of polystyrene blending PCBM and PEDOT:DSS layers as a way to improve Perovskite solar cell stability
- Hybrid organic/inorganic perovskite material with the formula CH3NH3PbX3 (X- halogen) have received a great deal of attention, due to its good intrinsic properties for photovoltaic applications, such as appropriate band gap (~1.55 eV), high absorption coefficient, long hole-electron diffusion length, excellent carrier transport, low cost and ease of synthesis.The organic-inorganic metal halide perovskite solar cell has led to remarkable advancements in photovoltaics. The rapid increase in the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of PSCs shows a promising future. However, the PSCs PCE efficiency drops dramatically after exposing under high humidity environment. Therefore, increasing moisture stability is gaining more attention. Degradation of PSCs have been reported due to the presence of water vapor molecules in the cells. The planar PSCs with poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene): poly(styr- enesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) as the hole transport material and [6,6]- phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) as the electron transport material attracts many researcher's attention, due to the good reproducibility, hysteresis free nature and the practical approach of air-processing fabrication. This inspired our approach to improve the PSC moisture stability by using polystyrene blending PCBM and PEDOT:PSS layer for improving moisture stability. Polystyrene is inexpensive, abundant, easy to acquire and mature commercialized material, which makes it a suitable chemical modification material for PSCs. It could also form a thin, continuous layer serving as scaffold for perovskite layer, which enhances the light absorption of PSCs. Modified PSCs will be sealed by polystyrene again for further stability improvement. In this poster we report our progress on the way of improving the moisture stability of perovskite solar cell processing in air.
- A Projector, Dry Film Photoresist and Glass Based Fabrication Approach for Microfluidics Channels
- Microfluidics, as an emerging interdisciplinary field, has a very wide range of usage in many fields including engineering, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, nanotechnology, and biotechnology. Since microfluidics devices have a variety of applications, great values and benefits, research on microfluidics channels and chips fabrication has also become interesting and valuable to the science field. The most traditional and widely used fabrication method for microfluidics is the combination of photolithography for master mold creation and then soft lithography, and research has been done studying modifications based on this fabrication methods. Dry film photoresists were used as a substitute for more generally used liquid photoresist, silicon wafer bases have been substituted with glass slides, and there had been approaches using a projector which functions as both the exposure light source for photoresist and the "mask" for desired patterns, but not yet applied for microfluidics applications. In this project, we use a combination of dry film photoresist, glass slides, and a projector to explore the potential of such fabrication method for micro-channels. Combining with an external 10 cm double convex lens, a theoretical resolution of 30 um can be reached with a home DLP projector. The fabrication efficiency and further channel characteristics are still under testing procedures.
- Aptamer-based Colorimetric and Fluorescent Dual Detection of Carbendazim Pesticide via Inner Filter Effect of Gold Nanoparticles on CdTe Quantum Dots
- Carbendazim (CBZ) is a commonly used fungicide known to cause infertility and disrupt dehydrogenase and phosphatase activities. Thus, detecting CBZ residue in foods is an important part of food safety. The inner filter effect of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) on cadmium telluride quantum dots (CdTe QDs) and carbendazim specific aptamers (CSA) were used to colorimetrically and fluorescently detect CBZ, respectively. The single-stranded CSA is electrostatically attracted to AuNPs and prevents aggregation in the presence of NaCl. As CBZ is added, the aptamers bind onto CBZ and the AuNPs aggregate with a color change observable by naked eyes. A more sensitive fluorescent detection can be achieved by introducing CdTe QDs afterwards. The emission of QDs can be absorbed by the dispersed AuNPs, but not the aggregated AuNPs. With the presence of CBZ, the CdTe QDs are no longer quenched, thus the fluorescence intensity is proportional to the concentration of CBZ. With both the simplicity of colorimetry and the high sensitivity of fluorimetry, the developed dual-sensing system is promising for CBZ detection.
- The Improvement of Biomolecule-Coated Titanium(IV) Oxide Nanoparticles as Sunscreen Materials
- Titanium(IV) oxide (TiO2) nanoparticles are commercially used as active ingredients for sunscreens, under the approval of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other government organizations worldwide. The TiO2 nanoparticles has the Ultraviolet (UV) blocking characteristic by means of both UV absorbing and UV scattering. However, TiO2 nanoparticles produce free radicals such as reactive oxygen species (ROS) upon radiation from sunlight, which is a potential risk to both human tissues and the environment. To address this issue, natural biomolecules acting as free radical scavengers were coated onto the surface of TiO2 nanoparticles to prevent the emission of ROS. Several factors including biomolecule types, coating thickness, and nanoparticle sizes that affect UV blocking and ROS inhibiting efficiency were investigated. This project is projected to offer insight into the improvement of the TiO2-based sunscreen materials for the cosmetic industry.
- Bridging Between Electrochemistry and Microbiology for a Brighter Future: Microbial Fuel Cells
- Microbial fuel cells (MFCS) are battery-like mechanisms that can generate electricity with no carbon emission and are space-efficient and cost-friendly. My research focused on maximizing the electrical yield of 4 MFCs by adding in different food sources. Starting off, mud along the Delaware and Raritan Canal was put into MFCs (bought from a supplier). The mud bacteria feed on nutrients from the sources and expel out electrons. These electrons travel through the anodic layer through an attached wire which flow through a LED light, which lights up, and flows out through another attached wire. The flashing lights are measured by a mobile app to see how many watts are created.The electricity is channeled to the cathodic layer, where electrons are accepted by the oxygen. In a preliminary trial, different food sources (milk, yogurt, sugar, and broccoli) for the bacteria were added to each MFC separately to see what kind of variables play into the maximum yield of electricity. In a control MFC, the yield stayed constant, ranging between 100-130 mW for a week. Although different factors contributed to the yield (ex. lack of sugar in the milk and bacterial interspecific competition in yogurt), it was interesting to see what contributed to a high but constant yield. The sugar MFC made a small amount of electricity before any of the other MFCs and stopped early, ranging from 0-175 mW, but the broccoli MFC had a fluctuating but continuous output. Another part of the experiment conducted showed that with an increase of diluted white sugar as a food source (from 0 to 30 grams put into each of the 4 MFCs), the maximum yield of electricity came from the 36-gram MFC but the 12-gram MFC self-sustained for longer. The next phase of the experiment will be conducted: to use compost as a food source because nutrients from decaying matter seemed to sustain the yield the best. Termite-processed, leaf, and kitchen compost will be put into 4 MFCs and electricity yield will be tracked for 2 weeks. I will rewire the MFCs to gather readings of electrical output used to calculate the maximum amount of electricity the MFCs are capable of producing using Ohm's law. The last step of the experiment is to connect 4 compost MFCs into a series or parallel circuit (depending on which arrangement yields more electricity output) to harvest all the electricity to be put into the charger. I will build a type of converter that channels the electricity and has a USB which can plug into portable chargers. The end goal of this research is to harvest the electricity generated by the MFCs which can be used to charge a portable cellular device charger. The charger stores the energy which can be used later on. This research is a step towards applying MFCs in the real world. By using MFCs organic waste material is also recycled and cleaned and this method can carry over to wastewater treatment and the desalination of water. MFCs can provide remote power sources to countries in need of electricity.
- Construction of a device for data collection using Intel Galileo Processors
- Students attending Hillsborough High School, as members of the Hillsborough High School STEM Club, are constructing a device to gather various forms of information (including optical, thermal, and positional data), process the information, and store it using Intel Galileo processors. All work completed involves the assembly of the project through novel materials.The project began in September 2017 under the advising of Mr. Jerry Silver and Dr. Nagi Naganathan; the project is expected to be completed in February of 2018. The students involved in the project utilized and expanded their knowledge in the following disciplines: electrical engineering, software development, teamwork, and planning. Techniques and materials used in building the device include soldering, software development, sensors, cameras, automation, etc. In the future, Hillsborough STEM hopes to apply their creation as part of a balloon launch to collect atmospheric data.
- Identification of Novel Candidate Genes for Congenital Heart Defects using Gene Network Analysis
- Identification of Novel Candidate Genes for Congenital Heart Defects using Gene Network Analysis. Approximately 1% of new-born infants are diagnosed with a congenital heart defect (CHD) every year (CDC.gov, 2016). About 25% of CHD patients have severe types of CHD that require surgical operation in the first year of their lives (CDC.gov, 2016). The genetic causes of CHD are complex (Andersen et al., 2014) and poorly understood, however their etiological significance has been recognized (Richards et al., 2010). In order to further investigate the genetic causes of CHD, we developed an approach to identify new candidate genes for CHD using gene network analysis. DisGeNET (Piñero et al., 2017), a database of genes and variants associated with diseases, provided a list of 269 genes associated with CHD, however only 59 of these genes can be described as having a strong association - defined by having a gene-disease association (GDA) score greater than 0.2. Network analysis with the STRING database (Szklarczyk et al., 2017) was used to identify further CHD candidate genes. In the first approach, we identified 6 genes (not found in the 269 list) that showed the most connections (as defined by annotation in experimental databases, co-expression, and text-mining) to the 59 strong evidence CHD genes. In the second approach, we identified 8 genes from the 210 weak evidence CHD genes that showed the most connections to the 59 strong evidence CHD genes. In total we identified 14 candidate genes that appear to be uniquely connected to previously identified CHD genes. Further exploration of the 14 candidate genes using the Integrated Interactions Database (Kotlyar et al., 2016) and the Bgee database (Bastian et al., 2008) yields insights into their functions and involvement in heart development.
- Visuospatial and Verbal Memory Differences Between Selected Male and Female Adolescents of the STEM Strand
- The project began with the researchers investigating how each gender assimilates learning based on visuospatial and verbal memory of selected Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) adolescents. The project was based on other studies as well as Bem's Gender Schema Theory. The participants included in this project were 16-19 year olds in Grades 11 and 12 with 45 female and 65 male respondents who willingly participated in the study. The researchers used the brain training app Peak to be able to measure each participant's capacity for both visuospatial and verbal memory. After measuring the scores and determining the mean for each gender, there seemed to be no significant advantage found by either gender in both male and females in visuospatial memory, contrary to most findings from other studies. However, the difference in verbal memory was significant enough based on the results of both two-sample t-tests for the level of significance of 0.05, with the results being -2.74 for the left-tailed verbal test, a Cohen's d of 0.53, and a p value of 0.004 compared to -2.27, Cohen's d of 0.37, and a p value of 0.987 for the right-tailed visuospatial test. Given the opportunity to have access to more resources and time, the researchers plan to continue the study to include other testing methods and not limited to brain training apps to come up with more conclusive findings.
- High School Autonomous Vehicle Challenge - Team HD Automotive
- The High School Autonomous Vehicle Competition is a new national competition Sponsored by Ford, MathWorks, and NXP. The competition is used to introduce high school students to applications of engineering, science and math. The competition includes college-level topics such as feedback control, microcontrollers, vision systems, programming, and autonomous vehicles. The competition is held at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and has over fifty teams participating from twenty high schools across the United States. The goal of the competition is to race cars autonomously around a track at a high speed. The track is white with black stripes on each edge. The car has a camera, a steering servomotor, and a FRDM-KLZ25 controller. All of the models that we implemented required tuning of several parameters which are programmed using Simulink. It was necessary to tune the model to achieve the fastest vehicle while maintaining at least one wheel on the track at all times. We fine-tuned models, making slight changes to the model until it was reliable. We used several features to improve our vehicle: Rear-wheel steering - This feature uses the rear wheels to aid in a turn. Camera memory - This method saves the data from the camera in a turn and then uses the information to complete the turn. Dead spot steering - This feature zeros the steering signal for small steering changes, but allows large steering changes when required. Some of the tuned parameters are steering feedback gain, vehicle top speed, and camera focus and angle. We used a process to make a change, observe the result, make a hypothesis as to what the effect was and why, and then repeat. This method allowed us to choose features of our model and find the best settings for the parameters. This method allowed us to see how mathematics are used in engineering applications. We joined this competition because we were interested in robotics, science, and engineering. Haley has participated in Robotics clubs since the seventh grade and likes to try new robotic clubs. Darrian saw college level students participating in a similar competition and wanted to participate in this high school competition. This competition has allowed us to observe the process of engineering to create something as simple as a light blinking off, or a complex as a car that steers itself. We have seen how to optimize our vehicle for different conditions and tracks. Participating in the process to build our vehicle makes us wonder how companies such as Apple, Samsung, HP, and many others create the products of everyday use. Our poster session will cover the competition goals and objectives, vehicle construction, the models we used to program the vehicle, and our final solution. We will bring a car and track to the conference for demonstration. This poster session is submitted in conjunction with a Work in Progress paper submitted by the competition organizer, Marc E. Herniter.
- High School Autonomous Vehicle Challenge - Team SWAT
- The High School Autonomous Vehicle Competition is a new national competition Sponsored by Ford, MathWorks, and NXP intended to introduce participating high school students to contemporary applications of engineering, science and Math. The competition includes college-level topics such as feedback control, microcontrollers, vision systems, programming, systems, and autonomous vehicles. Held at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, it has over 50 teams participating from 20 high schools across the country. The goal of the competition is to program and fine-tune a small autonomous vehicle to complete a variety of courses, such as an oval track, a clover track, and a random track, in the least amount of time. While competing, we solve a multitude of problems, including vision system clarity, speed and handling, and efficient turning and braking. The car has a front facing camera, a servo motor for steering, a FRDM-KLZ25 motherboard, and two drive motors on the rear wheels. The car is programmed using Simulink. We use a different program for each course, but they all perform the same basic functions: steering, acceleration, and braking. These are controlled using data from the camera, which allows the car to find and steer away from the edge of the track, and decelerate in corners. Additional features, such as crash detection, can be implemented using the accelerometers built into the shield. Additionally, we can add features such as rear-wheel steering, adjustable speed in corners, and steering offset adjustments. There are several settings that must be set properly for the car to perform well. These include steering feedback gain, vehicle top speed, camera focus and angle, and others. To make the car run as fast as possible, we used the process of make a single change, observe the effect, make a change and then repeat. This method allows us choose or eliminate control features from our model as well as find the best settings for parameters in our model. It also allows us to see how mathematics is used in engineering applications, how to implement a process to optimize a system with many variables, and introduces basic engineering concepts such as feedback and camera vision. We joined this competition because of our interest in engineering. The most exciting new technologies in the automotive industry are autonomous and electric-drive vehicles. Our vehicle is essentially a simplified scale model of the electric autonomous vehicles being developed by automotive companies. The competition has been a great introduction to the fields of mechanical, electrical, and software engineering and because we wish to pursue careers in engineering, it has given us a glimpse into that world. Our poster session will cover the competition goals and objectives, vehicle construction, the models we used to program the vehicle, and our final solution. We will bring a car and track to the conference for demonstration. This poster session is submitted in conjunction with a Work in Progress paper submitted by the competition organizer, Marc E. Herniter.
- High School Autonomous Vehicle Challenge - Team: Roadrunner
- The High School Autonomous Vehicle Competition is a new national competition sponsored by Ford, MathWorks, and NXP intended to introduce participating high school students to contemporary applications of engineering, science, and Math. The competition includes college-level topics such as feedback control, microcontrollers, vision systems, programming, systems, and autonomous vehicles. Held at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, it has over 50 teams participating from 20 high schools across the country. The goal of the competition is to program and fine-tune a small autonomous vehicle to complete a variety of courses, such as an oval track, a clover track, and a random-unknown track, in the least amount of time. While competing, we solve a multitude of problems including but not limited to, vision system clarity, speed and handling, and efficient turning and braking. The car has a front facing camera, a servo motor for steering, a FRDM-KLZ25 motherboard, and two independent drive motors on the rear wheels. The car is programmed using Simulink. When I heard about this competition, I was very excited to participate. I have had a love for engineering for as long as I can remember, and I was happy to find this competition. It sounded like a good place to learn and grow in knowledge of robotics and programing, to make friends with like-minded people, and to mess with some cool tech. This project is definitely more advanced than other engineering projects I have done, which is great. Through this competition I hope to learn more about programming a robot, working in a group, and completing the challenges set before me and my team. I like solving problems and finding the right solutions to make things work correctly and efficiently. I expect there will be a lot of trial and error along the way, but that's the fun part. This competition has more involvement than previous projects I have done. It is for a longer period of time, and I have more hands-on work, such as building our car and developing our code to the new standards. This project is also at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with a Rose-Hulman professor presiding over the project. How cool is that! Engineering and robotics have been subjects that have interested me greatly over the years. I am certain that I wish to pursue an engineering degree, and I believe that this project will help me hone my vision of what field of engineering that will be. Our poster session will cover our experience in the competition from the viewpoint of a new team participating in the competition. This poster session is submitted in conjunction with a Work in Progress paper submitted by the competition organizer, Marc E. Herniter.
- The Effect of Temperature on the Electrophysiology and Behavior of Venus Flytraps
- In a collaboration between researchers at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute & Princeton Public Schools, we began a research and outreach project to investigate Dionaea muscipula, more commonly known as the Venus Flytrap, electrophysiology and teach elementary school students about our findings. This plant exhibits a gating function wherein sequential activations of a "trigger hair," a sensory organ that detects disturbances in the trap, will cause the trap to shut. While previous research has characterized calcium-dependent spikes that result from activation of trigger hairs in this species, little is known about how trap activation can be physiologically modulated and what effects such modulation might have for the spiking function of trigger hairs. In the research branch of our project, we examined how both the behavior and spike-characteristics of Dionaea muscipula respond to robust changes in ambient temperatures. We discovered that heat dramatically prolonged the gating function and also appears to simultaneously alter the structure of triggered action potentials. The traps, when exposed to heat, proved more prone to closing when triggered by non-insect stimuli; hence, increased heat may result in excess energy expenditure for Dionaea muscipula, as well as reduced ability to capture prey. We suspect that temperature-dependent proteins could account for the increase in plant "memory" between action potentials in heated plants; to further investigate this hypothesis, we will seek to identify the protein through protein profiling. Following a successful pilot presentation at Community Park Elementary School's Science Expo fair to over 30 elementary school students, we developed a Dionaea muscipula neuroscience workshop curriculum. Fortunately, we were able to consult our mentors Joel Finkelstein, a graduate student at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, and Mark Eastburn, an elementary school science specialist, as well as our research teachers, Jacqueline Katz and Jennifer Smolyn. With a focus on growth-based teaching and problem-solving skills, we've presented the curriculum to over 50 elementary school children at the Henry Pannell Learning Center. Our presentation focused on using the Dionaea muscipula model to help students understand the connection between Venus Flytraps and memory, as well as a real-world implementation of the scientific method. Based on a student growth objective that our research group designed, we observed an 8.45% growth in the student's knowledge after our presentation. We later presented our workshop again at the Plainsboro Public Library, for which we restructured our curriculum and student growth objective to maximize student learning; we observed 21.23% growth. We plan to further redesign our curriculum for the future in order to introduce the scientific process so the students can try to test the effect of temperature on Venus Flytrap memory themselves; hopefully, we can make younger children as excited about neuroscience and plant science as we are!
- Solving Complex Problems with Low-cost Swarm Robotics
- Swarm robotics provide workforces for potentially dangerous jobs, or jobs that require covering a large area. The main applications of swarm robotics are controlling UAVs, post-disaster relief (searches for and maps out the location of survivors and dangers, transporting relief supplies, planning routes for rescuers and evacuees, and roadway repair.), geological surveillance, military operations, and cooperative transport (moving things). Swarms are inspired by groups of animals that work together to perform a task more proficiently. For example, ant colonies forage for food in large numbers to be able to cover lots of area. When they find food, they leave a pheromone behind to direct other ants to the same food supply. Although a swarm could be programmed for multiple applications, most applications imitate the foraging behaviors found in nature. Foraging behavior is useful in surveillance, search and rescue, and geological surveillance. The main focus of my project is to create a swarm that is proficient in obstacle avoidance, foraging, and communication. Swarms present many advantages over the use of human labor or specialized robots. Having more than one robots allows for the swarm to be scalable, able to cover a greater area, and able to perform multiple tasks at once. Additionally, they are cheaper. Mass producing a number of simple robots to complete certain tasks would be much cheaper than using the precise tools necessary to building certain specialized robots. This makes maintenance cheaper as well. Swarms are also typically decentralized, which eliminates the need to control them manually. The objectives of my project are to create a working durable swarm of inexpensive robots that are able to independently react to their environment and themselves. I am using vibration motors on opposite sides of each robot for mobility. (Both motors rotating in one direction = one direction; motors rotating in opposite directions= turn) The motors will be controlled by an ESP8266 (wifi module) connected to a DRV8833 h-bridge motor driver. The robots will be able to communicate with their surrounding environments using proximity sensors. The body of the robot will be constructed using 3-D printed plastic.
- Design and construction of a nanosecond precision lab analogue to an atomic clock
- Many educational experiments or research projects, such as calculation of the speed of light and sound or experiments in cognitive neuroscience, require very accurate timing. Due to the high cost of atomic clocks, as well as their extreme precision that is rarely needed in the school environment, the purchase of such clocks for high school labs is often unjustified. Widely accessible GPS devices have limited accuracy, and the use of expensive high-precision GPS timers is needed. Furthermore, all aforementioned solutions require significant infrastructure for their functionality. The need for a product that could be used by non-engineering faculty and students, or a product that would require no assembly, programming, or soldering is present. My project will solve this issue. I have designed, built and tested a timer that requires minimum knowledge in programming or electrical engineering for its operation. The timer has been designed in a way so that it could be easily used by a high school student. As an ultimate test of the precision of my timer, it is being sent as a part of CubeSat payload to the International Space Station in order to detect the time dilation effect according to the Theories of Special and General Relativity of Albert Einstein. This experiment induces additional technical limitations on the timer, while preserving the requirement for its precision. Hence this device is not only going to be a low-cost easy-to-use solution for high precision timing problems, but also a low-power, highly durable timer that has been proven in a space flight. An essential part of my project, observation of time dilation effect would be the first such experiment conducted by a high school student.
- Modeling Spread of Waterborne Disease in Networks through STEM
- Motivated by living conditions in rural India where waterborne diseases are endemic, we consider a network of villages that share a common water source and develop mathematical models for understanding spread of waterborne diseases through multiple transmission pathways. The latter includes direct transmission within each network and indirect transmission via a shared water source. These interactions are captured as a system of coupled ordinary differential equations that are solved using numerical algorithms. This application of mathematics is implemented using technology that employs automated spreadsheets running the algorithms coupled with real - time input feeds via social media tools. We will demonstrate how one can use crowdsourcing ideas combined with mathematics and technology to predict final outbreak sizes for the network model developed which can help make important policy decisions. Theoretical results to determine fraction of population affected by a potential outbreak as well as computational results for benchmark examples will also be presented.
- An Accessible Augmented Reality System to Address Spatial Reasoning Inequalities in STEM Education and Broaden the Appeal of Science Among Youth
- This study develops an accessible augmented reality (AR) system to address spatial reasoning inequalities in STEM education. Classes in math and science that require abstract thinking often present students with the challenge of visualizing core concepts and formulating three-dimensional (3D) mental images on their own. This biases the students' potential to grasp key concepts in science on their capacity to think abstractly and spatially, resulting in gross inequalities in material comprehension. The developed AR system makes use of the students' smartphones for object identification and rendering through a novel process involving mesh generation and texture modification. The students point their smartphones at confusing two-dimensional (2D) figures in their textbooks or worksheets and the system uses Scale-Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT) for image recognition and matching to generate a processed version of a 3D model similar to the original 2D figure. The objects that the students generate serve as an outlet for students to experience scientific inquiry on their own and an alternative method for teachers to engage their students' spatial reasoning skills. This paper demonstrates a proof-of-concept in typical calculus classes to help students visualize solids of revolution and in neuroscience classes to aid students in picturing the neuron as a 3D unit for learning more involved concepts such as plasticity. Furthermore, the application's use of exciting technology, specifically AR, has the potential to imbue a genuine interest of science among underrepresented groups in STEM and serve as vital parameters for future works involving the use of AR in education.
- A Novel Machine Learning Approach to Myocardial Infarction Detection
- Myocardial infarction, commonly known as heart attack, is one of the major causes of death around the world. For many, heart attacks are unexpected and can occur at any time, especially if a person previously had a heart attack or any type of heart disease. The suddenness of a heart attack makes it difficult to detect and prevent it from occurring, resulting in death or irreversible injury to the heart. Finding a method of detecting a heart attack even minutes before the attack occurs can be the time between life and death. My research aims to use a machine learning algorithm incorporated into a noninvasive biosensor for early detection of heart attacks. Users first enter factors such as biometrics, history of cardiac diseases, and habits. The biosensor will have a live feed of ECG data from the user. The neural network algorithm will take these initial factors as well as the ECG data to determine whether or not a user is experiencing a myocardial infarction. The neural network is trained by data from the PTB Diagnostic ECG Database from PhysioNet. This project will allow early detection of a heart attack, thus early treatment and a decreased possibility of death and long term tissue damage. This device can also be used to track user heart health over a period of time.
- Design and Application of the Structure of a Multifunctional Underwater Robot
- Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) are becoming widely applicable in many processes of ocean developing. Because the size of a ROV is normally smaller than a backpack, it possesses the ability of reaching some narrow spaces that man-piloted machine could not reach. In the future where more and more facilities moving underwater, ROVs have a vast areas of application, such as repairing leaks of oil pipes and cleaning harmful substances. Thus, optimizing the structure of such a robot could bring benefit and yield potentials. The research focused on how the structure is designed considering multiple aspects. Under careful considerations, including water flow, power supply and mission control, our ROV is made into a shape of quadcopter. To optimize those aspects, the research is divided into multiple phases. For each phase, the paper discussed several methods planned to solve the problem, the outcome of the tests for those methods, and the final solutions after comparing the testing results. Several objectives, both quantitative and qualitative, are set for the ROV tests for the final result. Those objectives include the size, weight, mobility, and many other restrictions. Our mission is to fulfil those objectives, and optimize it in the future research process. The majority of the paper discussed the process of the experimentation and improvement with every design. First the design started with a cube-shaped robot of different layers. However, after many calculations, the shape is found not utilizing the hydrodynamic power efficiently. Then, a different approach is used with only two layers fixing the pumps in place. The new approach imitate the way a quadcopter moves in the air and adapt this way underwater. The testing result is described in the paper. In the future, there will be more follow-up test on whether this approach of structure works or not underwater, and more calculations based on this testing result.
- The Design and Implementation of a Novel Motor System for a Microcompressor
- This project revolves around the implementation of a motor system to a microcompressor allowing for precise control and manipulation of the compressor. This research will test the effectiveness of said system in inhibiting the movement of organisms when imaging. A microcompressor is a device that uses two cover slips to physically inhibit the movement of specimen. This project serves to fix a common issue that occurs when imaging microorganisms. It is imperative when imaging motile specimens that they are immobilized to avoid movement and migration. When imaging from a three-dimensional perspective, you must have a force to counteract the Brownian motion attributed to the media the specimen is immersed in and the cell dynamics that are powered by cilia and flagella. Not only is there need for a proper system that would serve to immobilize cells, but there would also have to be a very precise control mechanism to ensure that the cell is not being crushed or improperly manipulated. This mechanism would also have to be compatible with all types of microscopes to provide effective immobilization while imaging cells. This project further develops a novel device created by Dr. Janetopoulos at the University of Sciences. I am creating and optimizing a motor mount system that works in conjunction with the compressor. My system is analogous to a cassette, with the microcompressor and stepper motor acting as the tape reels and the timing belt acting as the tape. The stepper motor's motion transfers to the microcompressor using a timing belt that allows for step by step manipulation. The stepper motor is controlled by an encoder to allow for the user to control the device. Last year I focused on programming the control mechanism of the device, allowing for the precise manipulation of the stepper motor with an encoder. This year was spent fabricating the SLA printed pulley that attaches to the top brass ring and creating a base plate mount for the microcompressor made of acrylic to create a working prototype for the device. The next steps are testing out the device by attempting to compress protozoa and pond samples. After tests are completed to gauge the precision and functionality of the device, I will focus on automating the compression with a computer vision system. Initially the goal of the project was to create a laboratory grade compressor, however I plan on simplifying the device and allowing for a comprehensive device that would allow for a wider range of people to immobilize and examine specimen.
- 3D printing as a disruptive lens shaping technology
- 3D printing technology has enabled quick fabrication of customized models. Products produced through stereolithography (SLA) printers using photosensitive resin has high transparency and similar mechanical properties as resins currently used in optical fabrication. However, few quantitative measurement on photosensitive resin's optical properties (refractive index) has been executed. Here we report a lens fabrication method involving measuring the refractive index of photosensitive resin used in 3D printing process (Formlab V2 Clear Resin), which was used as a parameter in determining the curvature of customized lens models; models of customized lenses were exported as stereolithography files (STL) and printed with photosensitive resin in liquid phase. 3D printed optical lenses (by Formlab form 2 printer) has reached printing precision of 25 µm; the fabrication of these lenses takes much less time than current lens shaping methods. The 3D models of 3D printed lenses were visualized in STL files and could be saved for any further customized design. The mechanical properties of 3D printed lenses were similar to lenses shaped through current molding method. This SLA 3D printing method in lens fabrication enables convenient, customized design of lenses working in THz frequency; it saves time and budget for shaping lenses that works in specific optical frequencies, it also reduce the cost for material preparing / recycling in current methods. We anticipate that this new method of lens shaping will reduce the efficiency and the cost of the production of customized lenses for any optical research focusing on long wavelength topics including THz and infra-red range.
- Development of an easy-to-use, paper-based sensing device for colorimetric detection of formaldehyde
- Formaldehyde, a commonly seen chemical in cosmetics and household products, inflicts severe health issues and thus its concentration should be regulated. An easy-to-use, paper-based formaldehyde sensing device is developed with the ability to detect under 0.083ppm (the warning concentration suggested by World Health Organization). During the chromogenic detection, fluoral-p embedded in paper would react with formaldehyde to form a color distinguishable by naked-eyes. Feeding on only a small amount of sample, such paper-based device would appeal to the general public with its cheap and simple design. The ppm level of formaldehyde for both indoor air or solution samples is determined accurately and precisely with this relatively fast, sensitive, and selective method, which is promising for general public to use in their daily life.
- Design and implementation of mobility system for the multifunctional underwater robot
- One of the popular types of ROV is "Remotely operated underwater vehicle", an underwater mobile device, which carries sonar, video camera and robotic arm in order to complete several complicated tasks underwater. In the whole world, the ability of searching and working underwater made ROV highly useful in many areas such as biology, chemistry, engineering and even military. For examples, more and more ROV robots were used in extracting undersea petroleum resources, undersea salvage, harbor's security check and undersea building engineering. Therefore doing the research of the ROV is very meaningful topic for people to study the engineering works and even benefit the whole society. In my research, I will corporate in the design and construction of an underwater robot, which can be controlled freely underwater. My job is to construct a stable mobility systemand suitable robotic gripper capable of completing several tasks underwater. Therefore, I establish a system to test different propellers' efficiency in terms of their speeds at constant voltage and current. By using solid modeling software, I designed and 3D printed six different propellers with different shapes (curve or flat) and numbers of blades (2, 3, or 4). I then used aluminum, axles, connectors, and rods to create an experimental stand connected with force sensor to test propellers' efficiency. When putting propeller in water and starting rotation, the value of force that the propellers produce can be shown on the screen of force sensor, by which we can determine their efficiency. The suitable propeller can further improve our robot's mobility, which will be checked during our testing for prototype. The function system including the design and construction of robotic grippers is still in the progression. The basic design is finished in 3D CAD, including 10 separated parts, which will be printed and tested in the future. And the further improvement will be done after the testing. In our future plan, the final robot can be used to search the inside of the river around our school and the images can be provided to other research groups such as chemistry and biology to analyze. During next 2 months, we plan to further improve our robot's ability and functions in many other aspects and make the robot be able to do more complicate researches and works. For example it could collect various sample underwater providing to other research group for analysis.
- Experiencing STEM through FIRST Lego League
- FIRST® Lego® League (FLL) is a competition created by the organization For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), to "discover the excitement of STEM" and is geared towards 4-8th graders. Each year, FLL provides a topic focused on a world problem, and teams compete in three challenges: robot game, research project, and core values. The robot game is where teams build and program an autonomous robot, using a Lego robotics kit, to complete various missions on a 4'x8' mat with interactive Lego models. In the research project, teams select a problem within the criteria of that year's topic, and come up with a shareable solution. The core values are the most important part of FLL because they are the beliefs and expectations of FIRST Lego League. Throughout the competition teams are judged on all of these parts and have a chance to move to the next level and meet new teams. During 5th grade, I co-founded the Explorers team, and remained a member for the next four years. That first year's topic was Nature's Fury, with a project focused on identifying a solution for a problem that occurs when a natural disaster occurs. Our team conducted research on and met with experts in extreme weather, rescue, and recovery. Having recently brought a puppy home, we decided to focus on the rescue of pets during natural disasters. We found that in hurricanes, rescue vessels will often not let pets on because they want to save room for people. Our solution was the Pet Bubble -- a double layered polyurethane cylinder equipped with nutrients for the pet, an embedded GPS to locate them, and other features. The Pet Bubble could keep a pet safe from debris and used flood water as ballast for stability. Our novel concept ended up receiving the best project award in our very first tournament. The robot game was challenging requiring that we both build and program an autonomous robot. Here, we benefited from the works of others, both adapting existing concepts and developing new approaches, stretching our STEM knowledge to the limit. The core values were the best part of the competition, with teams showing " gracious professionalism" and "coopertition". Overall, my four years in FLL taught me much about what is fun and exciting in STEM, and is the most educational experience I have had thus far.
- Improved temperature monitoring for working dogs
- My invention is the Thermo Vest -- a dog vest with an attached thermometer to notify you of the dog's temperature. Because of the thermometer that we used you can check the temperature of the dog via Bluetooth connection to your phone. This invention is to help owners keep track of their working or service dog's temperature so they do not over heat. There were four main steps to creating this vest; identifying a problem, researching a solution, testing out the design, and building a prototype. The FIRST® Lego® League (FLL) team that I was on generated the idea. FIRST Lego League is a STEM program that has three main parts: robot game, research project, and core values. Each year the project and robot game have a theme. Two years ago, it was Animal Allies, and while researching that theme, we identified the overheating of working dogs as a problem we wanted to solve. When we researched our idea, we did not find any products that met a service dog's needs. We found some other inventions that would sense the temperature inside of an area but nothing that would sense the dog's temperature. We then researched the best area to take a dog's temperature and found out it is the dog's armpits and ears. We then visited a vet to get their opinion on it and they said that a dog would not like having something in or on its ear and would scratch at it. Thus, we decided to use one of the armpits. After we came up with the idea and researched it further, we had to find the materials. We needed two items, a thermometer and a dog vest. We bought four different thermometers to test. Since my family had a dog, we tested the different thermometers on her and figured out which worked best. We deduced that two of them did not work well because of the fur that dogs have, and the other one worked fine but you could not see the temperature easily. The one we picked worked with a dog's fur and it could connect to a device via Bluetooth, allowing for remote temperature reading. Next, we looked for a harness or vest that we could use. We interviewed the experts at Lupine, Inc., a dog harness and collar manufacturer. They explained how it could be hard to attach a thermometer to a harness. When we looked at vests, we needed one that did not cover the whole dog because that would overheat them, so we looked for one that only covered the front half. After much research, we found one that looked promising with a minor alteration of sewing a pouch to hold the temperature sensor. Our final solution was recognized with an award at our FLL state championship and received praise from the Director of S&T for the Department of Homeland Security which was soliciting ideas to address overheating in service dogs.
- Determination of the Defining Features of Texts Written in Isolation With a Naive Bayesian Classifier
- This is an exploratory study in which we seek to determine the differences in defining features between textual samples written in isolation compared to a control group of texts written by the same authors. I began working under doctoral student Judith Mildner at the Tamir Lab at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute in the spring of 2017. During the spring, I attended lab meetings, joined the journal club, and researched a list of authors whose Wikipedia pages contained one or more words associated with isolation. I continued this project over the summer as part of the Princeton Laboratory Learning Program. I compiled a list of authors who wrote in isolation and found their texts. I wrote a Python program to clean and standardize the files. Next, I coded a naive Bayesian classifier using the python package NLTK. I ran the program, varying the training set to test set size ratio to determine the optimal proportion. Beginning with a training set as 10% of the authors, I obtained an average of 51% accuracy. The classifier required more training data, so I trained it on 20% of the corpus and received 60% accuracy. The upward trend in average accuracy continued as I increased the training set size to 60%. With greater than a 60% training set size, the results became less reliable and variation in accuracy increased, suggesting that the classifier was being overtrained or that there was too much variation in the size of the training set because data was split according to author. A given percentage of the authors will have varying numbers of works depending on the number of works each author wrote. I am in the process of running the classifier with all authors but one in the training set and one in the test set in order to obtain more unbiased results. I hope to determine which authors' works have clear distinctions between isolated works and control. In addition, I am analyzing the features the classifier used to predict isolation status in all trials. This is a highly relevant area of study because we hope to elucidate key differences in the thoughts and cognitive states of isolated people, which could predict behavior for socially isolated people.
- Protein Levels of HBA1 and ANK1 Associated with Breast Cancer Outcome
- Copy number alterations (CNAs) are recognized as a trigger of breast tumor initiation and development. Recent proteogenomic analysis of breast tumor samples has revealed a list of proteins whose expressions were affected by CNAs in the 8p11.21 region. We used Gene Expression Profiling Interactive Analysis to compare each protein's RNA expression levels in normal versus breast tumor samples and the association between RNA expression and breast cancer patient survival. We identified one gene, HBA1, as being over-expressed in cancerous breast tissues; its overexpression was significantly associated with worse survival outcomes. This observation reveals the functional consequences of CNAs in 8p11.21 in breast tumors. Further, to better understand the regulatory mechanism of HBA1 in breast tumors, we searched for proteins that may interact with HBA1 by calculating correlations among protein expression levels using the Clinical Proteomic Tumor Analysis Consortium's breast cancer data, as interacting proteins typically have highly-correlated expression levels. We identified ANK1, a gene in 8p11.21, as having the highest correlation with HBA1's protein level, with the exception of other hemoglobin genes. Our analysis suggests the DNA up-regulated CNAs of 8p11.21 may contribute to worse survival outcomes for breast cancer patients through first cis-regulation of ANK1, which then trans-regulates HBA1. Further analysis should be done to identify other genes implicated in this signaling pathway as well as the mechanisms of action of such a pathway.
- Paper-based Mercury Detection Implementing Gold Nanoparticles and Mercury-specific Oligonucleotide
- Mercury, as a toxic element, has always been a concern of health to us. Thus detecting mercury content in samples is essential for the safety of human body, especially in water samples. A paper-based mercury detection method that implements the mercury-induced aggregation of gold nanoparticles and mercury-specific oligonucleotide (MSO) was developed. The MSO binds to mercury ions and forms a hairpin structure that is no longer able to protect gold nanoparticles; with addition of salt, the gold nanoparticles would aggregate, and different degrees of color changes respect to mercury content in the water sample can be read by naked eyes. Nanomolar of mercury is determined with paper easily and accurately by using this method, which would be promising in practical use to test the quality of our drinking water.
- Paper-based Colorimetric Mercury Detection via Gold Nanorods
- Mercury is a great threat to our health and ecosystem due to bioconcentration. A precise, fast, and cheap paper-based mercury detection method is needed. Gold nanorods are used for mercury detection due to their special optical properties. Attached with N-alkylaminopyrazole ligand, 1-[2-(octylamino)ethyl]-3,5-diphenylpyrazole (PyL)--which has strong coordination ability towards heavy metal ions--water soluble gold nanorods aggregate when heavy metal ions present. However, there is a significant shift in the longitudinal plasmon band only when mercury ions present. Through observing the red-shift, mercury concentration could therefore be detected. This method is highly specific with a limit of detection should lower than 5 ppt. Potentially, this method could be applied to test papers for people to make a quick, cheap, and precise mercury detection at home in the future.
- Evaluation of a Hydrogen Production System with Enzyme Produced from Cell-Free Protein Synthesis
- Hydrogen is the energy source of the future. Due to its small size and weight, hydrogen is the optimal option for both internal combustion engines and fuel cells. Due to these properties, however, hydrogen is extremely hard to store. Even in a cryogenic state, liquid hydrogen has a density of less than one tenth of that of hydrocarbon fuel. The low density makes cryogenic hydrogen tanks significantly bigger and heavier than the tanks that hold the same weight of hydrocarbon fuel. In addition, liquid hydrogen has to be stored at a very low temperature that requires either thick layers of insulating material, or a great deal of power to maintain—both of which would limit the applicability of liquid hydrogen as a fuel. Among the chemical carriers of hydrogen that can react with reformers in chemical adsorption, carbohydrates can be a good solution. They can be directly produced through photosynthesis and converted to hydrogen via synthetic pathway biotransformation (SyPaB). This pathway is composed of a series of enzyme catalyzed reactions that are capable of high throughput under room temperature. The relative instability and high price of the enzymes and cofactors, however, make enzymatic reactors costly and short-lived. To provide a solution for the problem, we created computer models in search of a self-sustainable in vitro hydrogen-producing system capable of renewing some of the enzymes used in its biological pathway. The three components of this system we seek to model are a SyPaB for producing hydrogen, a set of inverted membrane vesicles (IMVs) responsible for oxidative phosphorylation using energy from SyPaB, and a cell-free transcription and translation (TX-TL) system for producing proteins to compensate for natural decay. Since this system is too complex to be evaluated completely in vitro, computational studies has to be done first to determine whether this system is feasible. Computational optimization can also reduce a huge amount of lab work by approximation of parameters without doing experiments. Computer simulations of the SyPaB and TX-TL were completed in previous studies, but no one tried to integrate them together before. In previous years of this study, we created a comprehensive computer model of our integrated system based on the work discussed above in order to test the efficiency and duration of our newly proposed hydrogen-generating pathway. This year, I am working on constructing the integrated system in real life. I started validating my system with the SyPaB pathway. I constructed expression vectors of two of the enzymes in the SyPaB pathway, then expressed them in E. coli and purify them in Nickel columns to perform in vitro reactions with them.
- Instructing cluster transformation by modeling, sensing and tracking
- On many daily occasions, we are often confronted with the problem of determining the track for each object within an aggregation for the whole cluster to transform from one ideal display to another. For example, each dancer in a group ought to transit from one position to another without bumping into each other during a performance while a cluster of drones are expected to transform effectively without collision and mutual interference. Although previous algorithms have been developed to solve such problem, the volume of transiting objects, specifically dancers or drones, has been ignored. In other words, previous algorithms fail to be practical enough as they simplify each object as an ideal mass point. Therefore, this project purposes a new approach of modeling, sensing and tracking, which in general serves as an universal solution to problems regarding secure transformation between displays or images. A Cartesian rectangular coordinate system is set up to illustrate the position of each object that altogether make up a required display. Autodesk is also used to design and determine the positions consisting of a 3-dimensional display. While two sets of positions are obtained for successive displays accordingly, each object is located by sensors in the coordinate system and randomly allocate a new position for each of them to transit to. By tracking each object, it is obvious to capture intersections between their trails or safe zones, the area which objects may cause impact on while passing through. Therefore, the allocation of positions can be adjusted time by time based on the decreasing sum of transiting distance, reaching a final solution that ensures no collision or interference takes place as the whole cluster transforms smoothly. This project mainly applies the algorithm to design a complete drone light show but can be furthered by implementing such algorithm to a larger scale which fully features and amplifies its security and reliability, for example to direct dancers on the stage, to reduce the pressure in a crowded parking place or more.
- A Study into Employee Scheduling Problem Based on Graph Theory Algorithms
- This paper investigates the scheduling problem of employees based on a case study of factory workers, where the workers have to check the devices routinely in order to make sure they are functioning regularly. The time needed for the inspection varies from device to device, and each device has its own inspection cycle, the minimum cycle is named T. Aimed at accomplishing the inspection with the least number of workers, we propose a combination of Hamiltonian cycle, minimum spanning tree algorithms to find an optimal solution. We start with a simple scenario, which only considers the working time of each worker (i.e. the inspection and travelling time). To give the optimal solution, we first abstract the map of the devices in the factory into a graph, where every device is represented by a node and each pathway between them an edge. By using the Floyd's Algorithm, we transform the targeted graph into a complete graph. Then, we calculate the minimum length of the Hamiltonian cycle of the graph P which is then used to estimate the minimum number of workers (n) needed to maintain a sustainable inspection plan. Next, we calculate and plot the minimum spanning tree of the graph according to which we split the graph evenly into n sub-graphs. Each worker would be in charge of inspecting a sub-graph. If each worker can finish the inspection cycle under T minutes, then n is the minimum number in question, otherwise we undergo the same simulation process with n + 1. In the end the Hamiltonian cycle in the sub-graphs will be the inspection route for every employee. After that we decide to make the model more realistic by adding resting time into every worker's inspection routine. This scenario is only slightly more complicated than the first one. We adopt the same methodology, only eliminating resting time from the total time limit. This results in a slight increase in the workload and guaranteeing resting time for each person. After scheduling the first two scenarios, we find that there are still redundancies. Thus, in order to further save labor force, we consider having workers work off-peak. In this scenario, workers can start their work in different times of the day and have resting time as well. As every sub-graph would add more redundancy, we transfer the grand graph directly into a Hamiltonian cycle. Each worker travels along the grand cycle and the interval between two consecutive workers should always be less than or equal to the maintenance period T. To draft a plan, we again roughly calculate the number of workers needed to finish the path and propose a schedule based on the Hamiltonian cycle. We reach the conclusion that manual labor can be saved in this scenario. Finally, we discover that the model can be applied to many other fields including nurse scheduling, plant caring, railway examining, etc., where the problems are more or less similar and has a wide range of applications.
- Soda Can Metamaterials
- My research thus far has been focused around the nascent field of metamaterials. Metamaterials are defined as being sub-wavelength nano-structures that can interact with waves in unconventional ways, and have even been used to create nano-scale electrical circuits. These materials are growing in popularity within the optical and nano-scale engineering sciences, and the attention it has brought unto itself has propelled it into the forefront of scientific research. Metamaterials are incredibly versatile, with many different possible applications that stretch out of the scope of science and into the real world. With the possibility of creating an optical invisibility cloak, or constructing a metamaterial "superlens" that beats the theoretical diffraction limit of a wave, the opportunities for research in this field are nothing short of unparalleled. As a highschool student however, there are many inherent difficulties associated with conducting research on such an expensive and specialized subject. Due to this, I have read more into the possibility of constructing a quasi-metamaterial that uses resonance through an array of soda cans in order to project and amplify acoustic waves. One paper, which showed a hexagonal soda can array, told how their "soda can metamaterial" worked in a very similar way to a conventional metamaterial, leading me to ponder the question: How may this acoustic metamaterial differ if one would change the structure of the soda can array? Working with a physics teacher at my school, I have begun to outline a few possible experiments that will test this question, and will also be exploring how the presence of certain liquids may alter the range at which this array will function, as water in a container affects the frequency at which a material will resonate.
- Effect of Using Digital Resources for Flipped Instruction in an 8th Grade Classroom
- Education has evolved into integration of technologies and web services which enrich and improve on the classical educational experience. The technological tools such as Google Classroom, Canvas and North Carolina Education Cloud (NCEDCloud) can be used to organize and structure a classroom and its contents. Quizlet, Kahoot, and Khan Academy help with the enforcement of concepts and ideas and help reinforce what is learned in the classroom. Educational technologies also enable convenient and focused studying of content e.g. an app like Quizlet can be used to drill and memorize certain terms and definitions. New educational technologies are comparable to workout machines in gyms that make exercising (or learning) easy to get into, convenient, and simpler. These resources also provide fresh and engaging methods for reinforcing what is learned in the classroom thus greatly contributing to the overall success of the students. Digital resources are essential to the success of a flipped classroom. One of the main resources of a flipped classroom is a way to submit assignments digitally and on a students' own time. Tools such as NCEDcloud and Google Classroom are frequently used by teachers to make grading and submitting assignments easier. A competitive way to review assignments influences students to be passionate about learning and challenging themselves. Kahoot and Quizlet Live create a competitive and fun way for students to review and learn new content. Using Digital Notes to review class work electronically is the best way for students to keep up with notes and study. Websites like Quizlet and Google Drive also help students access class notes and review flashcards at home. These resources help students manage everything in today's classroom and enable the teachers to engage all of their students. In this poster, we highlight our personal experiences of web resources and digital technologies that helped us in our 8th grade classes. The convenience of retrieving digitally stored information and ease of access of the technological tools helped us grasp difficult concepts learned in classes. These resources also enabled us to focus on the challenge of completing the assignments in time rather than worrying about losing assignments or rubrics. Using digital technologies, we were able to collaborate seamlessly on group projects and assignments. Study tools e.g. Quizlet and Kahoot also helped us reinforce and retain what was learned in the classroom and made studying and reviewing more enjoyable and fun. In our 8th Grade science class, teacher used Quizlet as a warm-up tool that primed our brains for the content we were going to learn. The use of digital tools was very effective during our 8th grade classes at Morehead STEM Academy (K-8 STEM Magnet School) in Charlotte, North Carolina. For example, Bryan Perez, a fellow student stated that "Resources like Canvas are used to keep our goals and assignments organized and finally review games like Kahoot make learning more entertaining". In conclusion, these resources helped to provide ourselves and our peers with better and more substantial learning environments.
- An implementation of Visible Light Communication based on Raspberry Pi
- Not only does LED have a low energy consummation, a relatively long operational life span, an environmentally friendly nature, and a miniature size, but it also possesses a preferable modulation ability and a augmented sensibility to exterior stimulations. It is these qualities that enable LEDs to serve as both a source of illumination, and also a provider for carrier wave within the visible light section of the electromagnetic spectrum, and thus create the possibility for a novel type of wireless communication—Visible Light Communication(VLC). In our research project, with the aid of Raspberry Pi and photosensitive modules, we were able to construct a simplified model of VLC—using the high-frequency blinking of the LED on the transmitting end to transmit binary codes and using the photosensitive diode on the receiving end to detect the aforementioned blinking. Therefore, we were able to achieve the transmission of texts through VLC—in other words, a one-way communication line between two Raspberry Pies within the range of visibility. Especially, we were able to achieve an unprecedented feat—the transmission of Chinese characters.
Saturday, March 10 2:00 - 4:30
Integrated K-12 and Outreach Programs - II
Chairs: William Gray-Roncal (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory & Preparation Meets Opportunity Foundation, USA), Bernadette Sibuma (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA)
- 2:00 Engaging Very Young Engineers w/ littleBits, Scratch, Raspberry Pi, and GoPiGo
- For the past four years we have been exploring available educational pre-engineering technologies that are age appropriate for elementary and middle school students. With support and encouragement from the administrations at three schools in West Hartford, Connecticut, we have delivered after school programs ranging from several five to ten week sessions with littleBits to a two-year program with Scratch, Raspberry Pi and GoPiGo. Through creative engagement, productive exploration and, dare we say, "engineering" , increasing numbers of diverse students are devoting significant amounts of their "free" time focused on circuit building, programming, robotics, and more importantly innovation, problem solving and following their curiosity. We are establishing environments where students are free to experiment, make mistakes, design, engineer, re-engineer, explore phenomena, and continuously problem solve while providing peer support and leadership in small groups. Mentors from the IEEE local student chapter and community experts have lent their expertise to support and grow these programs. Students are entering the state-wide Science and Engineering Fair and experiencing recognition and success in engineering by age 13. Throughout the Summer our students competed in the MIT ZeroRobotics International Space Station Spheres Programming Competition, ultimately meeting astronauts and having their code run on board the ISS. This has been possible through a wide variety of grant support ranging from a National Science Foundation Grant through the University of Connecticut School of Engineering, a fundraising effort through DonorsChoose.org, support from the West Hartford Foundation for Public Schools and two grants from the King Phillip Parent Teacher Organization. Please join us to explore these emerging educational technologies and gain hands-on experience to enable you to promote, mentor and develop informal education programs that appeal to young women and men. Share your passion for Engineering and be part of the solution to filling the engineering career pipeline in your community.
- 3:30 Integrating Interactive Computer Simulations into K-12 Earth and Environmental Science
- This paper discusses our work in progress aiming to explore how computer simulations can be integrated into the K-12 curriculum of Earth and Environmental science. Several interactive simulations using Netlogo, a multi-agent modeling environment, and Scratch, a visual programming software are being developed with steerable parameters and the corresponding output plots for students to manipulate and interpret the results respectively. Here, we present two simulations we designed on water cycle and discuss how these may help students learn about the distribution of water and its continuous move in the ecosystem.
- 3:45 The Impact of an Integrated Pre-K STEM Curriculum on Teachers' Engineering Content Knowledge, Self-Efficacy, and Teaching Practices
- This paper reports a pilot study to determine the potential impact of an integrated STEM curriculum on Pre-K teachers' engineering content knowledge, self-efficacy and teaching practice. Using a randomized control trial design, researchers examined the impact of the curriculum in 17 Pre-K classrooms (8 intervention classrooms, 9 control classrooms) in central Massachusetts. Questionnaires measuring STEM and engineering content knowledge, self-efficacy and teaching practice were administered to participating Pre-K teachers (N=42; 21 intervention, 21 control) in Fall 2017 and again in Spring 2018. Baseline analysis showed no significant differences in engineering and STEM content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, or teaching self-efficacy at the start of the pilot study between intervention and comparison classroom teachers. Fidelity of implementation was measured using an observation instrument developed by the project team based on a published implementation science framework. We hypothesized that teachers who implement the integrated STEM curriculum will have significantly higher engineering pedagogical content knowledge and self-efficacy than teachers in the comparison group. As well the teachers who implement the integrated STEM curriculum will show significant gains in their engineering pedagogical content knowledge and self-efficacy in teaching engineering and STEM as a result of their participation.
Community-based Outreach and Pre-College Initiatives - II
Chair: Nagi Naganathan (Broadcom, USA)
- 2:00 EDS - ETC and Snap Circuits Workshop and Arduino demonstration
- Topic: Initiatives to encourage the pursuit of Electrical Engineering education through pre-college outreach. Focus: Hands-on activities building circuits to introduce basic concepts of electronics. Proposed activities: At the beginning of the session we will start with hands on practice with Snap circuit projects guided by the assistants, we will split into groups with a maximum of 4 kids/group, with the goal of working with the Snap Circuit kits and constructing 6 circuits with different levels of complexity as explained in the provided guides. The groups will have up to 10 minutes to construct each circuit, after completing each of the circuits one of the teams will describe in their own words how the circuit operates. Each of the teams will have the chance to present their brief summary. The session will end with a demonstration of programming using Snapino (Snap circuits + Arduino) kits, each team will be given a kit with a program loaded in the controller to control 3 Light Emitting Diodes LEDs, a brief description will be given about the loaded program. The teams will then modify the code to achieve various tasks modifying the existing program. The workshop is focused on stimulating creativity, curiosity, and logic so that the participants understand how electrical engineering applies as well as basic concepts presented in a manner that they will remember and enjoy technology for the rest of their lives. Upon completing the workshop, the participants will have learned and applied the tools to foster their curiosity providing them with a taste for the field of engineering. Short statement of presenter's expertise: Luis Miguel Quevedo received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechatronic engineering from the University of San Buenaventura, Bogota, in 2015 and the specialization degree in business and services of telecommunications from same University, in 2016. He has led the EDS - ETC. program since 2017. During this time he has led more than 10 workshops and delivered multiple presentations highlighting the benefits and success of the program in Latin America and the world. He represented EDS during the last XX RRR R9 (Meeting Region of Branches) in Cusco Peru October 11, 2017, delivering a presentation on the EDS-ETC program. He is part of the SAC Team in IEEE Colombia and co-founder of JWG Automatización & Control SAS. Luis has been a member of the IEEE since 2011, holding leadership positions as president of student chapters (IAS, EDS), president and vice president of the USBBog Student Branch during 3 years during which he lead several student events. In 2015, he founded JWG S.A.S an automation company, that over the last two years has completed projects for General Motors Andina, Quala S.A and PEPSICO. His professional interests include Internet of Things, STEM for Youth and children, factory automation, nanoparticles, and innovation on sensor-less control. He is a member of the committee of student activities in IEEE section Colombia. Mr. Quevedo was a recipient of the Industry Applications Society Award for the outstanding student branch chapter in 2013, he received honorable mention at the University of San Buenaventura for the effort, as well as development and leadership skills during the B.S. in 2015.
- 3:30 Supporting Engineering Practices in Informal Learning Environments with a Tablet-Based Engineering Design Environment
- Research demonstrates that out-of-school STEM experiences can influence career development and STEM persistence . However, helping students engage with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts and practices in out-of-school settings can be particularly challenging since youth are often able to choose to drop in or out and inconsistent attendance is the norm. Studying and documenting student learning becomes even more complex when facilitators of out-of-school time activities have limited experience and/or comfort with STEM concepts and practices. This paper explores the application of informed design principles and Knowledge Integration (KI) in a tablet-based environment to improve out-of-school engineering design learning. The paper presents a case study of a program implemented in a mid-Atlantic chapter of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Ten different blended engineering design activities (i.e., combining hands-on and virtual components) were completed by youth. Completion rates suggest the potential for integrating learning sciences theory with tablet-based environments to both facilitate and capture out-of-school engineering learning opportunities. This case study is part of a larger initiative supported by NSF through the AISL funding stream.
- 3:45 High School Autonomous Vehicle Competition
- The High School Autonomous Vehicle Competition is a new national competition Sponsored by Ford, MathWorks, and NXP. The competition introduces high school students to applications of engineering, science and math. The competition includes college-level topics such as feedback control, microcontrollers, vision systems, programming, and autonomous vehicles. Held at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the competition has over fifty teams participating in the 2018 competition from nineteen high schools across the United States.
- 4:00 Earth SySTEM: Investigating Earth from Space
- This paper will highlight the first year results of engaging K12 teachers in professional development activities that utilize the Space to Earth: Earth to Space (SEES) model as a part of a NSF IUSE grant with the Institute for Earth Observations at Palmyra Cove and Rowan University. The project uses ground measurements obtained through using scientific protocols established in the GLOBE Program, combined with drone imagery in the creation of a GIS which adds higher resolution to satellite imagery. These "Geovisualizations" become a part of a larger model displayed through virtual and augmented reality programs that were developed. The introduction of an Augmented Reality app, HoloGLOBE, can literally place real time data sets, also referred to as "big data", into the hands of teachers, students, and citizen scientists taking geovisualizations to a new level. HoloGLOBE is an evolving concept that utilizes the Merge Cube (Merge Labs, Inc.) to "blend" NOAA's Science on the Sphere (SOS) with the concept of Google Expeditions. Various SOS programs are being ported to HoloGLOBE. Combined with NASA and NOAA data visualizations and near-real time satellite imagery of our planet, users will be able to explore earth's systems. Through additional expansion packs, currently under development, users will investigate global precipitation, surface temperatures, weather and more. HoloGLOBE is envisioned to be a "mixed reality" node where participants post and share their interpretations of satellite imagery along with their own field observations with other participants worldwide. Participants will be introduced to 3D geovisualizations of NASA and NOAA datasets that allow for investigations and data displays by GLOBE students from around the planet through this new and emerging technology which holds dramatic potential in the study of the atmospheric and oceanographic sciences.
Integration in Higher Ed. -II
Chair: Jeffrey Beck (Quality & Compliance Solutions, USA)
- 2:00 Integrating Gaming & Tinkering/Making in STEM Curricula
- ** Learning objectives ** Attendees completing this workshop should be able to: • Evaluate the utility of integrating gaming and tinkering/making techniques in their own courses. • Be familiar with pros and cons of gaming and tinkering/making techniques, and how they impact student learning. ** Target audience ** The primary target audience is engineering educators at the college-level, though STEM educators from other fields at the high-school level and higher may benefit from this workshop, as well. Assumed prerequisites include mastery of trigonometry, and an understanding of physics (e.g., at the level of high school AP Physics). ** 750-word Overview ** Gamification and tinkering and are two active learning approaches which have recently attracted significant attention for their promise in enhancing STEM learning. These two approaches are generally distinct within the educational research community, but they work together naturally in informal learning environments such as local hackathons, drone competitions, and robotics competitions. Such events appeal to a wide age range with high self-motivation, regularly feature industry participation, have high public interest, and are scalable. This interactive education workshop will present participants with an approach to integrating these two approaches in STEM curricula for use in formal learning environments. Gamification has recently been popularized in academia and industry, for various reasons. First, games can encourage students to work hard of their own accord, with a recent study finding that students voluntarily did three times as much work when it was presented as a game. Second, over time students in the sciences have been shown to become more analytical and less creative. Games can counter this by requiring non-traditional interactions with the course content. Finally, games provide an alternative model for student progress, as games can provide a series of "unnecessary obstacles" which allow players to learn by rapidly failing and improving - thus mastering the challenge at hand. Tinkering (or "making"), on the other hand, is adapted from the concept of makerspaces: do-it-yourself, grassroots organizations focused on designing, building, and hacking. Many makers are actively developing and innovating with low-cost hardware, software, and instrumentation without theoretical background or formal training in engineering. At the same time, engineering students in formal learning environments do not typically demonstrate the same degree of self-motivation. A number of recent educators have investigated ways of leveraging the excitement and tinkering ethos of maker culture by bringing them into the classroom. For example, a wide range of open-ended exercises can be developed around many of the tools employed by makers, prompting students to adopt a maker mindset, employ improvisational problem solving, and hopefully become motivated to learn engineering concepts while actually building something. Workshop content will be delivered by two electrical engineering faculty that have been integrating these approaches in undergraduate and graduate electrical engineering "signals" courses as part of a three-year longitudinal study (see https://aspect.engd.wwu.edu/tinkeringwithsignals). The two faculty will also bring three graduate and undergraduate students to help facilitate the workshop, including assistance with the hands-on activities, as well as participation in the Q&A. These students are familiar with the relevant educational literature, and they have all participated in the design and testing of activities that employ the curricular elements of gamification and tinkering. The 90-minute workshop uses two example activities to familiarize attendees with the educational approach. The workshop will comprise five sections, as follows: 1. Motivation: Why gaming and tinkering/making in STEM curricula? [15 min]. Through handouts and presentation, participants will be exposed to the basis for this approach, including a brief survey of results from foundational and recent literature, as well as results from our own surveys and content assessments. Participants will learn best-practices and tested approaches for designing in-class, laboratory, and take-home activities that employ these elements - including example activities from our courses. 2. Activity 1: Wireless Transmission of Bits Using a Mystery Bag of Parts [25 min]. This first, inquiry-based activity tasks a team of attendees with using basic circuit elements (e.g., batteries, LED's, switches) to design a scheme to wirelessly transmit a given sequence of bits using visual light communications. The attendees do not need to be familiar with communication systems or data encoding techniques. They will compete to see who can develop a scheme to send bits from one human to another at the fastest rate (i.e., most bits per second). 3. Activity 2: Geolocating with Office Supplies [20 min]. This activity tasks teams of attendees with using basic office supplies (e.g., dry-erase board, suction cups, tape, paper clips, scissors, rulers, and string) to determine the location of a mobile receiver given knowledge of time-of-arrival of various reference signals. Working in teams, attendees will compete to find the most accurate location of a mobile receiver. 4. Summary, Q&A, and Student/Instructor Panel [15 min]. After a brief discussion and wrap-up summary of the activities, we will hold a question-and-answer session which will include a panel of students and instructors. 5. (Time-permitting) Self-reflection: Application to Your Own Courses [15 min]. We will allow time for attendees to self-reflect on how these techniques might be employed in their own classes, which may include discussion (e.g., via think-pair-share or jigsaw) with other attendees or workshop facilitators.
- 3:30 The Effect of Interactive Digital Storytelling Gamification on Microbiology Classroom Interactions
- In this research, we study the use of interactive digital storytelling in teaching microbiology. More specifically, we carried out an exploratory study assessing the effect of using the gamification of an interactive digital storytelling on classroom dynamics and students' interaction. The results show that the presence of gamification led to an increase in classroom discussions and in students' engagement with the learning objectives taught by the interactive digital storytelling.
- 3:45 A Making and Gaming Approach to Learning About RF Path Loss and Antenna Design
- As part of an ongoing, longitudinal study on the use of "making" and "gaming" in the classroom, two sequential activities for learning about radio-frequency (RF) path loss and antenna design are presented. "Making" involves integration of makerspace concepts and tinkering in the curriculum, while "gaming" refers to gamified curricula; in this study we investigate the joint use of these two elements in the classroom. The RF path loss activity is modeled after ham radio "fox hunting", where students must locate a transmitter hidden on campus; it makes use of low-cost software-defined radios, and prompts students to confront concepts including measuring signal power, frequency domain thinking, and antenna polarization. The follow-up activity challenges students to build an antenna designed to receive household gas meter readings; students must design their antennas specifically for operation in the 900 MHz band, and must give a presentation describing the theory of their antenna to their peers. A competition is held where students attempt to see which of their antennas can collect the most wireless gas meter readings over a five-minute interval. Assessment data from the broader study show that relative to a baseline offering, the treatment group developed an improvement in interest, perception, independence, and self-assessed abilities. This paper discusses the implementation of the activities, the students' approach to solving the proposed challenges, the assessment data, lessons learned from student focus groups, and instructor observations.
- 4:00 Using Escape Room-like Puzzles to Teach Undergraduate Students Effective and Efficient Group Process Skills
- Many jobs require the ability to collaborate effectively in teams, and STEM jobs are no exception. However, few curricula have been published that are explicitly designed to help undergraduates in STEM fields internalize the skills that are central to effective collaborative work. Students are typically assumed to be able to acquire these skills on their own. But when students without training are assigned to work in teams, they are no more likely to learn effective group process skills than if they were assigned a golf club and told to go figure out how to golf. In fact, without appropriate instruction and feedback, students typically develop counterproductive habits and attitudes, such as avoiding conflict, that undercut the effectiveness of a team. In this work-in-progress paper, I describe a curricular approach that has helped my students learn how to use teams in efficient, effective ways. It allows students to practice individual skills one at a time but also presents integrative team challenges that force them to decide how and when to apply specific group process skills and strategies. These challenges consist of 90-minute scavenger hunt or escape room -like puzzles that can only be completed within the time limit if students make efficient use of their assigned teams. Students describe these ungraded puzzles as anxiety-provoking but fun, and their progressive improvement over five once-a-week puzzles suggests that they internalize effective communication skills and learn ways of efficiently using teams to solve problems.
Computing in STEM Education - II
Chair: Clifford Sayre (Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, USA)
- 2:00 Computational Thinking, an offline approach!
- Title: Computational Thinking, an offline approach! Topic: Computational Thinking Focus: Hands on activities for students to engage in Critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, communication and creativity. Abstract: What is computational thinking and why is it important to us? Take a look at the history and future of this topic and how we can and should incorporate it into our classrooms. Explore how we can engage students in both concepts and approaches to being a problem solver in the 21st Century. Participate in hands-on activities and leave with lots of sources and resources. Application of Computational Thinking across the curriculum. The 4 major parts of computational thinking (Decomposition, Pattern Recognition, Abstraction and Algorithmic Design) are used in all areas of education. We just need to connect the dots, make sure that students know why they are doing these activities and how they relate to any problem solving task. The year 2017 has brought many great minds together to create standards, best practices, professional development for teachers, and advanced placement tests for students (Computer Science Principles) We need to be aware of these and take advantage of great learning opportunities. Students have changed, schools have changed. We need citizens of the future to use the 4Cs-- Critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, communication and creativity. Participants will explore one of the many tools and report back to the group on how these tools bring the 4Cs to life for students. Rubric will be supplied to help evaluate the particular tool Presenter Information: Arta Szathmary is Professor Emeritus from Bucks County Community College as a member of the STEM Department. She continues to teach Introduction to Information Systems for BCCC in online format, VSB 1000 Information Technology at Villanova University. Arta is proud to have worked with MIT as "Master Teacher for App Inventor". Arta served as member of the Curriculum Committee for TechGirlz.org and hosts STEMgirlz at Bucks County Community College for Middle School Girls and Facilitator for Bucks County Chapter of of Girls Who Code. This year she has delivered STEMgirlz Techshops for 21st Century Learning in both Morrisville and Bristol. . She is past President of PA4C, Community College Computing Consortium of Pennsylvania and Secretary of CSTA>>Philly. Arta was honored to be one of YWCA's "Women who make a difference" in Bucks County 2017. Motto: "Rewirement, not retirement".
- 3:30 Practical problem-based learning: An interdisciplinary approach
- This paper describes our experiences using an interdisciplinary approach in practical problem-based learning to benefit the students, faculty and the local community. This research uses an integrated project-based learning approach to engage students and prepare them for success. This interdisciplinary project has been externally funded and uses a cohort of students and faculty from the Computer Science and the Biology departments to solve a problem pertinent to the local community. It is a work in progress and we present some interesting results from the data collected so far. The project has yielded good results and has changed students' perception of science in that they now better understand its' interdisciplinary nature. All the students involved in this project now appreciate the cross disciplinary nature of scientific research. Computer science students understand that what they have learnt in their major can be used in other areas beside pure computer science. Students from other majors see the power of computing and have a better appreciation of computer science. This research project also involves one of the ABET goals to prepare students to address current and future environmental and societal challenges.
- 3:45 CS+PA^2: Learning Computer Science with Physical Activities and Animation - a MathDance Experiment
- A holistic approach to integrate classroom physical activities and programming to animate the physical activities is presented. The goal of this CS+PA2 program is to introduce an effective learning model to teach computer science, coding, and STEM concepts. As an example of CS+PA2, we taught an experimental "MathDance" program to seventh grade students using the Scratch Programming. The assessment results (one assessment taken before the activities, one after) show that the MathDance program improved students' knowledge in math and computer science significantly. It also increased students' confidence in STEM classes and interest in STEM careers. Students who repeated the MathDance motions did better, though not statistically significant, on a mathematics and computer science test than those students who did not.
- 4:00 A Case for Bringing Undergraduate Research into the Classroom
- Higher education curriculum for STEM fields and particularly engineering involves a lot of technical content. Educators mostly use traditional teaching/learning methods to deliver this content. Many, however, recently introduced more active and student-centered methods such as practical project-based learning, active learning tools, and flipped classrooms to achieve better learning of STEM content. However, research have not been adequately incorporated as a teaching tool in such curriculum, despite the numerous studies indicating its benefits in teaching and learning. In this paper, we discuss the benefits of incorporating research activities in the classroom to augment the teaching/learning process for the benefit of the students. The initial empirical results show increased interest from the students in the subject and higher involvement in classroom activities. An example in computer architecture is used to show this impact.
Integration in Higher Ed. - III
Chair: Roger Ding (NAVY, USA)
- 2:00 Exploring Integration of Technology in Classrooms for Flipped Instruction and Active Learning Using Free Web Tools and Services
- The lecture-based teaching strategy (LB) has been used for decades as an effective way to help students acquire new knowledge [1-2]. Many educators argue that this teaching model is mostly static, passive and not suitable for students. For students, the information delivered during lectures may come too slowly or cover what they already know; other students have trouble taking in information so rapidly, or they may lack the prior knowledge needed to understand the presented content . Flipped or inverted instruction approach has recently evolved as a teaching strategy that involves moving the lecture content before class and working on homework and hands-on activities during class time. In the flipped teaching strategy (FB), educators can employ online asynchronous educational video, recorded lectures or readings and spend time in class working on problems or 'active learning' exercises through group-based activities. The learning materials can incorporate multimedia visual representations, such as interactive graphs, photos or animation. During watching the video, lectures or reading the text, students have the chance to control the pace of multimedia streaming to match their own learning preferences. Students can also watch or listen to recordings of class lectures on their computers, tablets, smart phones, or personal media players outside of class, leaving class time to engage in learning activities that might otherwise be assigned as homework . Teaching is a complicated practice that requires expertise in many kinds of specialized knowledge. As an ill-structured discipline, teaching requires application of complex knowledge structures across different cases and contexts that requires constant evolution. Effective teaching depends on access to rich, well-organized and integrated knowledge from different domains that include knowledge of student thinking and learning (pedagogy), knowledge of subject matter (content), and knowledge of technology . These challenges raise an important research question: how can teachers integrate technology into their classrooms? To answer this question, an approach is needed that treats teaching as an interaction between teachers' knowledge and its application to unique circumstances or contexts within their classrooms. As highlighted before, good teaching depends on three core components: content, pedagogy, and technology, plus the knowledge of the interaction between them. Understanding the interactions between and among the three components across diverse contexts forms the core of the technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK) framework . This workshop will cover fundamentals of flipped instruction for active learning, its potential benefits and important considerations for teachers before implementing flipped instruction strategy in their classrooms. The essential elements of TPACK framework, their interaction and its relevance to flipping the classroom instruction will also be focused during the workshop. A major objective of this workshop is to familiarize the audience with freely available web tools and resources that can help in implementing the flipped instruction strategy. The presenters will cover the web tools and provide a hands on demonstration to integrate technology in classrooms using those tools for flipped instruction. The presenters have experience of implementing these web-based tools in instructional technology and engineering courses at Arkansas Tech University and will cover case studies highlighting implementation of flipped instruction in college level courses. An important element of implementing flipped instruction in classrooms is to assess its impact on student learning outcomes and their self-efficacy. The self-efficacy construct is used as a measure of students' self-judgment that reflects what students believe they can do with the skills they possess. The presenters will introduce the audience to approaches that can help them develop instruments to measure self-efficacy of students in their flipped courses and compare the results with lecture based methods. The presenters will also briefly cover methods to analyze the collected data through developed measures to study impact of flipped instruction on their students and draw conclusions that may help them improve pedagogy. Detailed schedule of the workshop is given in Table I below. Table I: Detailed Schedule of the Proposed Workshop Activity Duration (Minutes) Flipped Instruction and Active Learning - Overview 10 TPACK and its relevance to flipped instruction 5 Free web tools and resources for teachers - Hands on Demonstration 40 Case studies - Flipped classroom implementation in college courses 15 Assessing Impact of flipped instruction on student learning outcomes and self-efficacy 10 Question and Answer Session 10 Total Duration 90 References:  Hattie, J. Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-analyses Relating to Achievement, Routledge, New York, First edition, 2009.  Schwerdt, G. and Wuppermann, A., "Is Traditional Teaching Really All that Bad? A Within-Student Between-Subject Approach", Economics of Education Review, Vol. 30, 2011.  Goodwin, B., & Miller, K., "Research Says / Evidence on Flipped Classrooms in Still coming In". Technology Rich Learning, Vol. 70, No. 6, pp. 78-80, 2013.  Frydenberg, M., "Flipping Excel". Information Systems Education Journal, 11(1), 2013.  Koehler, M. and Mishra, P., " What Is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge?", Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 60-70, 2009.  Olofson, M., Swallow, M., and Newmann, M., " TPACKing: A Constructivist Framing of TPACK to Analyze Teachers' Construction of Knowledge", Computers and Education, Vol. 95, pp. 188-201, April 2016.
- 3:00 Using MATLAB for STEM Learning
- MATLAB is used on more than 5000 universities and schools world-wide. MATLAB combines math, graphics, and programming in an environment that is easy to use and get started. It is used by millions of engineers and scientists to solve challenging real world problems. In this workshop, you will learn how you can use MATLAB to accelerate the pace of STEM discovery and learning. From teaching mathematics, physics and engineering in schools, to robotics in student competitions and enriching STEM outreach efforts.
- 3:45 An Engineering Design Formative Assessment: A Work in Progress
- In this multi-year project, we are investigating the relative impact of engineering design formative assessment on student achievement with respect to science and engineering concepts and practices. We have created an engineering design formative assessment task for middle school students that can be integrated into existing science curricula. The task engages students in two virtual environments as they redesign a solar still to more effectively provide drinking water for families with access to ocean water but limited access to a reliable source of drinking water. We are using a pre/posttest design as a measure of the impact of the formative task on student achievement and will compare results between intervention and comparison classes across all students and for identified subgroups of students. A detailed discussion of the engineering design formative assessment task and the two virtual environments is provided. Discussion of other aspects of the project is limited to a general overview as we are in the early stages of data collection for this ongoing project.
- 4:00 EPICS in IEEE:Encouraging the pursuit of Engineering for Community Improvement
- Features Presentation from the IEEE EPICS Program