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2013 Annual Science Report

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Reporting  |  SEP 2012 – AUG 2013

EPO Activity: Multidisiplinary Science PhD on Research and Education Methodology

Project Progress

In June, 2013 grad student Paul Mayeur successfully defended his PhD in Multidisciplinary Science, on the effects of scientist-educator partnerships on middle school science education. The thesis was jointly supervised by NYCA director Doug Whittet and Prof. Alandeom W. Oliveira from the School of Education at the University of Albany. Mayeur created a web-based science lesson that brought real NASA data into the classroom. The lesson was based on Mayeur’s research in infrared astronomy within the broader context of astrobiology. Students learned how to plot real data; in the process they learned about infrared radiation, star color, and the wavelength/temperature relationship. The lesson was implemented using the principles of inquiry-based learning.