Integrated Science Teaching in Atmospheric Ice Nucleation Research




Hiranuma, Naruki
Wilbourn, Elise K.
Williams, Holly
Alrimaly, Sarah
Hurst, Jacob
McGovern, Gregory P.
Anderson, Todd A.

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To integrate research and education in atmospheric ice nucleation, which is an important phenomenon potentially influencing global climate change, we developed a lab experiment-based module and problems. Our primary goal was to promote meaningful laboratory exercises to enhance the competence of students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by applying an appropriate methodology to laboratory ice nucleation measurements. To achieve our goal, we tested our modules with >15 STEM interns in 2017-2021 and trained them on how to experimentally simulate atmospheric ice nucleation and cloud droplet freezing. For practical training, we used a simple freezing assay device called the West Texas Cryogenic Refrigerator Applied to Freezing Test (WT-CRAFT) system. We provided hands-on lessons with students to let them calibrate WT-CRAFT with deionized ultrapure water and apply analytical techniques to understand the physicochemical properties of bulk water and droplet freezing. All procedures to implement our modules were typewritten during this process, and shareable read-ahead exploration materials were developed and compiled as a curricular product. We also examined potential artifacts in water freezing. As for the data analysis, students learned how to analyze droplet freezing spectra as a function of temperature, screen/interpret the data, perform uncertainty analyses, and estimate ice nucleation efficiency using some computer programs. Overall, we comprehensively achieved our goal by training students to 1) improve their problem-solving skills by combining information, 2) apply numerical approximations to exact mathematical solutions, and 3) disseminate data and results with variability and uncertainty. Our modules can be applied at any primary undergraduate (or any larger) institutes to advance a college curriculum in environmental science.


Lab study


2022 Faculty Research Poster Session and Research Fair, West Texas A&M University, Department of Life, Earth and Environmental Science, Department of Chemistry and Physics, Poster, Atmospheric ice nucleation, Global climate change, West Texas Cryogenic Refrigerator Applied to Freezing Test


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