Dan Sykes (Pennsylvania State University, USA), William Hughes (Park Forest Middle School, USA)
The SMILE Workshop program engages educators in the construction and testing of rugged, lightweight, portable and inexpensive instruments for use in science curricula. Participants receive educational materials including powerpoint presentations on the theory of the instrumentation, instructor’s notes, lab manuals, supplies and a detailed discussion of the Pennsylvania State standards for STEM that each of the laboratory activities satisfies at the middle and high school levels. Our most recent collaboration involves faculty in an interdisciplinary STEM team at Park Forest Middle School. The team guided 7th-grade students in a Technology Education class in the construction of five colorimeters. Students learned the properties of each of the electronic components and how the entire circuit functions as a colorimeter. The students then used the colorimeters in their science and math classes to collect and process data obtained from measurements on solutions of nanoparticles and food coloring in food.