P880: Exposing non-science majors to the scientific process: Questions about current nano-environmental research
Students pursuing non-science majors may not have knowledge of the process of scientific research. Shedding light on the many steps and choices involved in conducting research may help these students to appreciate science as a living field of study. The authors exposed students in two science electives to scientific research by assigning students to read a recently published article and attend a seminar by one of the paper’s authors. Students in both an environmental chemistry course and a separate nanotechnology course were presented with recently published research on the effects of silver nanoparticles on plant health by one of the paper’s authors. Prior to the seminar, students were assigned to read the article and prepare questions for the author. This presentation will compare the students’ questions between the two classes. An analysis of the questions based on topic, relative level of critical thinking, student class performance and student background will also be presented. Student reflections on the assignment were used to gauge student learning and their appreciation for the opportunity to learn about cutting edge research from an expert in the field.