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ERIC Number: EJ1202259
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Jan
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Introducing Engineering Design and Materials Science at an Earlier Age through Ceramic Cold Casting
Boys, Alexander J.; Walsh, Mark C.
Journal of Chemical Education, v96 n1 p104-109 Jan 2019
Elementary and middle school science curricula typically focus on generating an interest in science and engineering through the use of hands-on activities that demonstrate specific concepts. Laboratory activities designed in this manner often circumvent some of the main challenges that engineers and scientists face, namely balancing advantages and disadvantages for a variety of potential solutions to solve a specific problem. This activity was designed to show students that different solutions for a given problem can exist, and engineers must manage priorities when choosing the best solution. This laboratory involves cold casting ceramics slurries with varying viscosities into a mold. The resulting casts have a varying final density, controlled by the initial viscosity. Students are presented with different outcome measures regarding the objects they cast: ease of manufacturing, cost, aesthetics, and mechanical properties. Based on the laboratory design, no single cast will perform the best in all of these categories. The students are then asked to choose the best mold and justify their answers based on the initial problem presented to them by balancing which outcome measures they consider to be important for solving this specific problem. This laboratory teaches basic science concepts like viscosity and density, while addressing common industrial manufacturing issues, such as cost and ease of manufacturing. Through a combination of these features, this laboratory introduces engineering and design concepts using the scientific method to students at an earlier age.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc. and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A