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Educational Outreach Nugget

RET participants publish paper on teaching materials science and engineering using organic light-emitting thin film devices

“Using Organic Light-Emitting Electrochemical Thin-film Devices to Teach Materials Science” is the cover article in the Journal of Chemical Education, vol. 81, no. 11, November 2004.

The primary objective of the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program at MIT’s Center for Materials Science and Engineering is to enable participants to create new classroom material that can be disseminated to their colleagues. Two high school chemistry teachers who participated in CMSE’s RET program have drawn on their research experience to create a novel lesson plan for teaching their students about electrochemistry, spectroscopy, microscopic structure of the solid state, basic circuits, and engineering design. Hannah Sevian and Sean Müller worked on organic light-emitting devices for use in flat panel displays in the laboratory of Professor Michael Rubner. Together, they created a pedagogical unit that engages their students in making a thin film device using the spin-coating technique they learned in Rubner’s lab. With the help of Professor Steven Leeb (MIT electrical engineering professor and CMSE faculty education leader) they were able to build this inexpensive spin coater for classroom use. All of this is detailed and available to other teachers in the lesson plan, “Using Organic Light-Emitting Electrochemical Thin-Film Devices to Teach Materials Science,” recently published in the Journal of Chemical Education. Before publishing their laboratory class, Dr. Sevian and Mr. Müller tested it with their own students. They also presented workshops to their colleagues at two professional meetings in which the attendees had an opportunity to do the activity themselves and were given a set of the supplies to take back to their schools.The paper, as well as supplementary teacher’s and student’s guides are available on the journal’s website. The authors were excited to learn that their paper was featured on the issue’s cover.

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