Matching Items (315)

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Experiments in Science Education: How In-Classroom Demonstrations and Hands-On Activities Affect Student Interest in Science and Engineering

Description

This thesis aims to evaluate how in classroom demonstrations compare to regular education techniques, and how student learning styles affect interest in science and engineering as future fields of study.

This thesis aims to evaluate how in classroom demonstrations compare to regular education techniques, and how student learning styles affect interest in science and engineering as future fields of study. Science education varies between classrooms, but usually is geared towards lecture and preparation for standardized exams without concern for student interest or enjoyment.5 To discover the effectiveness of demonstrations in these concerns, an in classroom demonstration with a water filtration experiment was accompanied by several modules and followed by a short survey. Hypotheses tested included that students would enjoy the demonstration more than a typical class session, and that of these students, those with more visual or tactile learning styles would identify with science or engineering as a possible major in college. The survey results affirmed the first hypothesis, but disproved the second hypothesis; thus illustrating that demonstrations are enjoyable, and beneficial for sparking or maintaining student interest in science across all types of students.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Response of Daphnia feeding rate to food C:P ratio: a test for the ""stoichiometric knife edge"" mechanism

Description

It is well known that deficiencies in key chemical elements (such as phosphorus, P) can reduce animal growth; however, recent empirical data have shown that high levels of dietary nutrients

It is well known that deficiencies in key chemical elements (such as phosphorus, P) can reduce animal growth; however, recent empirical data have shown that high levels of dietary nutrients can also reduce animal growth. In ecological stoichiometry, this phenomenon is known as the "stoichiometric knife edge," but its underlying mechanisms are not well-known. Previous work has suggested that the crustacean zooplankter Daphnia reduces its feeding rates on phosphorus-rich food, causing low growth due to insufficient C (energy) intake. To test for this mechanism, feeding rates of Daphnia magna on algae (Scenedesmus acutus) differing in C:P ratio (P content) were determined. Overall, there was a significant difference among all treatments for feeding rate (p < 0.05) with generally higher feeding rates on P-rich algae. These data indicate that both high and low food C:P ratio do affect Daphnia feeding rate but are in contradiction with previous work that showed that P-rich food led to strong reductions in feeding rate. Additional experiments are needed to gain further insights.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Nutrient dynamics of photodegradation for Ambrosia deltoidea litter in an arid, urban ecosystem

Description

The nutrient dynamics of degradation have been studied almost exclusively in mesic (not arid or semi-arid) ecosystems. In arid ecosystems, we do know that photodegradation can cause significant mass loss

The nutrient dynamics of degradation have been studied almost exclusively in mesic (not arid or semi-arid) ecosystems. In arid ecosystems, we do know that photodegradation can cause significant mass loss and that lignin plays a dual role in the processes of degradation: it slows biodegradation due to its rigid chemical structure but can speed up photodegradation via the carbon mineralization process. This experiment attempts to assess the nutrient dynamics of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) that occur while overall mass is being lost via photodegradation. We took Ambrosia deltoidea litter from 5 sites within the Phoenix city core and 5 sites downwind of the city of Phoenix. Half of this litter was N and P enriched from a previous experiment and half was control. We split the litter into UV opaque and UV transparent litter bags that had holes punched in them to allow microbial interaction. These bags were picked up at sampling periods of 10, 20, 30, and 40 weeks. All samples were then tested for mass loss, lignin content, carbon (C) content, N content, and P content. We found that downwind samples lost more mass than the core. There was little effect over time on N content and little disparity in P trends between the samples. P behaved as expected with an initial rise due to microbial interaction and then a decline as the microbes released P. Lignin concentration rose in a similar fashion at both core and downwind sites confirming that lignin remains in litter through the process of photodegradation. One interesting result was an logarithmic-like decrease in C:N ratio and C:P ratio for the downwind samples but a fairly constant ratio in the core samples. It is clear that these decreasing ratios result not from increased N or P, but instead from rapidly decreasing C. Overall, we conclude that neither N nor P is affected significantly by photodegradation at either site. N deposition appears to slow mass loss, but speed up N release, at least in the early stages of decomposition.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013-12

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Bio-Inspired Control for Robot Hand Catching and Grasping

Description

This thesis focused on grasping tasks with the goal of investigating, analyzing, and quantifying human catching trends by way of a mathematical model. The aim of this project was to

This thesis focused on grasping tasks with the goal of investigating, analyzing, and quantifying human catching trends by way of a mathematical model. The aim of this project was to study human trends in a dynamic grasping task (catching a rolling ball), relate those discovered trends to kinematic characteristics of the object, and use this relation to control a robot hand in real time. As an ultimate goal, it was hoped that this research will aide in furthering the bio-inspiration in robot control methods. To achieve the above goal, firstly a tactile sensing glove was developed. This instrument allowed for in depth study of human reactionary grasping movements when worn by subjects during experimentation. This sensing glove system recorded force data from the palm and motion data from four fingers. From these data sets, temporal trends were established relating to when subjects initiated grasping during each trial. Moreover, optical tracking was implemented to study the kinematics of the moving object during human experiments and also to close the loop during the control of the robot hand. Ultimately, a mathematical bio-inspired model was created. This was embodied in a two-term decreasing power function which related the temporal trend of wait time to the ball initial acceleration. The wait time is defined as the time between when the experimental conductor releases the ball and when the subject begins to initiate grasping by closing their fingers, over a distance of four feet. The initial acceleration is the first acceleration value of the object due to the force provided when the conductor throws the object. The distance over which the ball was thrown was incorporated into the model. This is discussed in depth within the thesis. Overall, the results presented here show promise for bio-inspired control schemes in the successful application of robotic devices. This control methodology will ideally be developed to move robotic prosthesis past discrete tasks and into more complicated activities.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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A Partial Life Cycle Assessment of Oranges Grown Locally and Afar: An Evaluation of the Significance of Food Miles

Description

This thesis was conducted in order to determine the role played by food miles metrics in making the agricultural industry more sustainable. In an effort to analyze the importance of

This thesis was conducted in order to determine the role played by food miles metrics in making the agricultural industry more sustainable. In an effort to analyze the importance of eat locally this study utilizes a partial life cycle assessment. This study looks at oranges grown in Arizona and California and inputs such as water, energy, fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide, frost mitigation, and distance in order to conduct the partial life cycle assessment. Results of this study indicate that food miles are not as significant, in relation to overall energy input, as the locavore movement claims. This is because production processes account for a larger portion of the total energy used in the food chain than what these claims suggest. While eating locally is still a significant way of reducing energy use, this thesis shows that decisions about eating sustainably should not only focus on the distance that the products travel, but place equal, if not more, importance on energy use differences due to geographic location and in-farm operations. Future research should be completed with more comprehensive impact categories and conducted for different crops, farming, and locations. Further research is needed in order to confirm or challenge the results of this thesis. With more research conducted regarding this topic, ecological labeling of agricultural products could be improved to help consumers make the most informed choices possible.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Styrene Oxide Adsorption on Commercial Resins

Description

The goals of the styrene oxide adsorption experiments were to develop reliable isotherms of styrene oxide onto Dowex Optipore L-493 resin and onto mesoporous carbon adsorbents, in addition to determining

The goals of the styrene oxide adsorption experiments were to develop reliable isotherms of styrene oxide onto Dowex Optipore L-493 resin and onto mesoporous carbon adsorbents, in addition to determining the ideal conditions for styrene oxide production from E. coli. Adsorption is an effective means of separation used in industry to separate compounds, often organics from air and water. Styrene oxide adsorption runs without E. coli were conducted at concentrations ranging from 0.15 to 3.00 g/L with resin masses ranging from 0.1 to 0.5 g of Dowex Optipore L-493 and 0.5 to 0.75 g of mesoporous carbon adsorbent. Runs were conducted on a shake plate operating at 80 rpm for 24 hours at ambient temperature. Isotherms were developed from the results and then adsorption experiments with E. coli and L-493 were performed. Runs were conducted at glucose concentrations ranging from 20-40 g/L and resin masses of 0.100 g to 0.800 g. Samples were incubated for 72 hours and styrene oxide production was measured using an HPLC device. Specific loading values reached up to 0.356 g/g for runs without E. coli and nearly 0.003 g of styrene oxide was adsorbed by L-493 during runs with E. coli. Styrene oxide production was most effective at low resin masses and medium glucose concentrations when produced by E. coli.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Analysis of Mesa Urban Garden's Impact on Their Community

Description

Community gardens are used worldwide to promote sustainable, urban living. They can be used to improve the physical, mental, emotional, and social health of the gardeners and volunteers who utilize

Community gardens are used worldwide to promote sustainable, urban living. They can be used to improve the physical, mental, emotional, and social health of the gardeners and volunteers who utilize their grounds. The gardens may also have a positive impact on the local environment and wider community. This study examines a community garden seeking to expand its involvement in the local neighborhood and searching for ways to include local residents in garden related activities. To this end, the garden was waiting for approval on their non-profit, 501(c)3 status, and was seeking additional data on local residents and perceptions of the garden's activities. This thesis first reviews the literature on the benefits community gardens provide for the individuals living in their communities and their impact on urban development. The thesis then turns to an analysis of one garden, Mesa Urban Garden, rooted in the Downtown District of Mesa, Arizona, and how they are impacting their neighborhood and how garden organizers can respond in new and creative ways to local residents.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Analysis of Mesa Urban Garden's Impact on Their Community

Description

Community gardens are used worldwide to promote sustainable, urban living. They can be used to improve the physical, mental, emotional, and social health of the gardeners and volunteers who utilize

Community gardens are used worldwide to promote sustainable, urban living. They can be used to improve the physical, mental, emotional, and social health of the gardeners and volunteers who utilize their grounds. The gardens may also have a positive impact on the local environment and wider community. This study examines a community garden seeking to expand its involvement in the local neighborhood and searching for ways to include local residents in garden related activities. To this end, the garden was waiting for approval on their non-profit, 501(c)3 status, and was seeking additional data on local residents and perceptions of the garden's activities. This thesis first reviews the literature on the benefits community gardens provide for the individuals living in their communities and their impact on urban development. The thesis then turns to an analysis of one garden, Mesa Urban Garden, rooted in the Downtown District of Mesa, Arizona, and how they are impacting their neighborhood and how garden organizers can respond in new and creative ways to local residents.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Creating Shared Economic Value for Arizonans by Proliferating Solar through the Hyperloop Project

Description

Each year the United States' interstates and roadways become increasingly congested, with little development of useful mass transit. Elon Musk released a whitepaper titled Hyperloop Alpha in order to generate

Each year the United States' interstates and roadways become increasingly congested, with little development of useful mass transit. Elon Musk released a whitepaper titled Hyperloop Alpha in order to generate conversation around a potential "fifth mode of transportation" as an alternative to current high-speed rail technologies. This case study analyzes the implications of implementing the Hyperloop along the 120-mile Phoenix-Tucson route in terms of the State's geographic, economic, political, and environmental advantages for the Hyperloop design. This case study was not meant to investigate the engineering aspects of an untested technology, but rather to generate conversation and elicit enthusiasm in the State of Arizona in order to bring the project in-house. Through comparison of the California context of the Hyperloop and other megaregions this report proposes that given Arizona's solar power production potential, short, flat, undeveloped route, explosive population growth, urban density distribution, recognized need for HSR, and strong research institutions make it the ideal site and premiere candidate for initial Hyperloop testing and construction.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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A Study of yard-scale climate effects in Phoenix, Arizona

Description

In this project, I investigated the ecosystem services, or lack thereof, that landscape designs created in terms of microclimate modification at 11 residential homes throughout the Phoenix Metro Area. I

In this project, I investigated the ecosystem services, or lack thereof, that landscape designs created in terms of microclimate modification at 11 residential homes throughout the Phoenix Metro Area. I also created an article for the homeowners who participated, explaining what I did and how they could apply my research. My research question was how a person can achieve a comfortable outdoor climate in their yard without over-using scarce water resources. I hypothesized that there would be a negative correlation between the maximum air temperature and the percent shade in each yard, regardless of the percent grass. I analyzed the data I collected using the program, R, and discovered that my hypothesis was supported for the month of July. These results are in line with previous studies on the subject and can help homeowners make informed decisions about the effects their landscaping choices might have.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05