Desktop Experiment Modules
Desktop Experiment Modules, or DEMos are hands-on, small-scale experiments that students can manipulate and view from all angles at their desk. Ideal DEMos are portable, inexpensive, and fairly straightforward (minimal fiddling) such that they enhance a lesson. DEMos are an intuitive extension of cooperative learning in the classroom because students can work in teams of 3 to 4 to observe, predict, and calculate behaviors.
Desktop Experiment Modules (DEMos) have the advantage of engaging the sensing and visual learners while assisting the global learners in providing a framework to piece information together as the lesson progresses. The traditional demo performed by the instructor in front of the classroom has a few disadvantages: 1) in a class larger than 20, students have a hard time seeing, 2) the individual with the best position to observe and learn what is occurring is the instructor, and 3) the classic "I understand when I watch someone else do it, but not when I do it alone" pitfall occurs. DEMos on a desk ensure that everyone has a clear view of the activity while facilitating that extra bit of learning, which happens when one gets to touch the equipment. In subsequent lectures, an instructor can bring in only one DEMo setup and take advantage of the now - enhanced visualization in the student's mind to illustrate concepts. By building up the fundamental principles in step with the DEMo, the traditional engineering learners (intuitive, verbal, reflective, and sequential) also excel. The end result is that DEMos can act as a tool to help instructors reach a larger number of their students.
This webpage provides complete resources for two such experiments: Charged Up on Electrophoresis and Brewing with Bioreactors. Electrophoresis and bioreactor processes are brought to life via introductory lectures, assignments, and simple desktop experiments that utilize inexpensive supplies to demonstrate electrophoretic separations and bioprocessing. Advantages of these hands-on experiences include that they are not dependent on the availability of lab space, and students have a unique experience to link into their evolving understanding of chemical engineering concepts. Complete supply lists, pre-assignment exercises, experimental procedures, and lab mats are provided in html and pdf format for both experiments and available for instructor use.
Quick links to DEMo Resources
- Minerick, A.R. and K.H. Schulz, "Freshman Chemical Engineering Experiments: Charged up on Electrophoresis & Brewing with Bioreactors." Chemical Engineering Division - American Society of Engineering Education Proceeding, June 2005. (pdf)
Charged Up on Electrophoresis:
- Introductory Lecture (or as pdf)
- Pre-Assignment (or as pdf)
- Prominent Scientist - Dr. Meridith Gourdine (or as pdf)
- Experimental Procedure (or as pdf)
- Handout on pH (or as pdf)