Science and Engineering Saturday Seminars Spring 2003


Online Registration:



-        Designed for science teachers

-        NEW teachers are especially welcome

-        Six Saturdays in the 2003 spring term; 8:30-1, at UMass Amherst

-        Free educational materials, refreshments, parking, PDPs

-        Advance registration is required; capacity is limited

-        4 PDPs per session

-        An option to register for 3 graduate credits at reduced cost with additional assignments


February 8. Kitchen Chemistry. Dr. Sharon Palmer, STEMTEC. Lederle 1033. Learn some fun chemistry activities that illustrate fundamental concepts such as acid-base chemistry, solubility, polymerization, capillary action, and chromatography. Well use materials that you probably already have on hand at home. Make an acid-base indicator and use it to test the pH of kitchen and other household chemicals, compare different recipes for slime, make some invisible inks, conduct chromatographic analysis on M&Ms, and try out some other fun experiments. Ill also have some information on how you can find out about such experiments on your own.


March 1. Bridges. Professors Susannah V. Howe and Alan J. Lutenegger, Civil and Environmental Engineering. Marston 34. Located throughout the world, bridges vary greatly in size, materials, and form, yet all serve same purpose: to support load over a specified distance. Bridges are more than just load-bearers, however, for they provide an excellent means for studying mathematics, physics, and general engineering principles. Participants will study the nature of bridges, exploring measurement, materials characterization, and structural form. Then, using a simple computer analysis program (available online from West Point), they will simulate the loading of a historic bridge, to see how the bridge responds under different loading configurations. See more on the bridge website


March 15. What's In Our Water? Professor Richard Yuretich, Geosciences. Lederle 1033. Explore how the composition of water changes as it moves through the hydrologic cycle. Participants will be asked to bring in water samples from their own "backyard", such as rainwater, local stream water, well water or city/town tap water. We will examine various chemical constituents of these samples: pH, conductivity, hardness, nitrate, chloride, and selected other components. The data will be reviewed collectively to see where they fit into the water cycle, and to decide what the major influences are on the water composition. If time allows, we will also explore real-time stream flow information on the Web from the U.S. Geological Survey.


March 22. Pro Desktop 3 D Modeling Software. Sam Chow, PTC consultant. ELab 307, right behind Marston. . PTC develops 3D design and engineering software used by over 33,000 companies and has a commitment to develop technological literacy skills in children worldwide. It offers free use of our 3D design software, Pro/DESKTOP, to middle and high schools and even encourage students to use the software at home. It also provides teacher training, project-based materials and curriculum. Teacher training sessions cover commonly used aspects of this powerful software and provide time for individual curriculum projects. Pro/DESKTOP provides new ways to understand math (geometry), science (physics), and even English and history. By allowing students to visualize objects three dimensionally, Pro/DESKTOP can provide a powerful tool to students not usually empowered and/or successful in standard school settings. (Optional advanced workshops will be held on May 10 and 17.)


March 29. Colloids and Emulsions. Professor Anthony Dinsmore, Physics. Hasbrouck Lab. These materials are very common and are amenable to some nice demonstrations, yet are not part of the usual curriculum. Topics include surface tension (and why droplets are spherical; why shaving cream acts like a solid even though it's made of liquid and gas); Brownian motion; behavior of many particles (phase transitions, how colloidal particles can spontaneously order themselves as water molecules do to form ice); technological and biological importance (development of latex paint; inks; blood-cell sedimentation).


April 5. Snow makeup day if needed.


April 12. The World in Motion, Part III. Michael Sarcione, Raytheon Corporation. Guneess Lounge, Marcus Hall. In two earlier, very popular workshops, Mike has illustrated the engineering design process with some excellent materials and activities developed by one of the engineering societies. This session will present a newly released module in the series.


May 3. Closing session for those enrolled for graduate credit. Chris Emery. Hasbrouck Lab.


Note that there are now 6 workshops plus the closing session for those registered for grad credits; last term we had 5 workshops. You can omit any one session and still get graduate credit. There is a charge of $225 for 3 Continuing Education credits plus a $30 registration fee; bring a checkbook or a credit card to the first session. Teachers may obtain credit for the seminar as many terms as they wish, but only 3 credits may be applied to UMass Amherst degrees. A lesson plan and a book report will be required for those enrolled for graduate credit.


Snow cancellations: Call the UMass Snow Day Hotline at 545-3630. If the campus is open, we will hold our seminar.


More information:

Questions: Mort Sternheim,, 413-545-1908.


To register, fill out the form at