NACE Foundation Inspires Teachers with Hands-On Learning Tools

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This year, the NACE Foundation celebrated its 10th summer of partnership with the ASM Materials Education Foundation’s Teacher Materials Camps, which first began in August 2004 at the camp in Houston, Texas.  The camps are week-long workshops that provide hundreds of high school science, math, and technology teachers with hands-on experiments and classroom instruction in materials science and engineering.

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Participants at ASM’s Teacher Materials Camps in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

In 2005, the NACE Foundation developed a “Corrosion Toolkit”, or cKit™, which was added to the camp curriculum as the main feature during the corrosion science and corrosion control component of the camps. The cKit, developed by NACE volunteers and corrosion experts, contains equipment and instructions for a series of corrosion related experiments to provide high school students with an engaging way to learn about the effects of corrosion.

Within the last decade, more than 7,700 cKits have been produced and distributed by the NACE Foundation. Between May and August of 2014, the NACE Foundation distributed a record-breaking 1,251 cKits to 48 camps in the following locations:

  • Akron, OH
  • Albany, NY
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • Boston, MA
  • Butte, MT
  • Calgary, Canada
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dayton, OH
  • DeKalb, IL
  • Fort Wayne, IN
  • Greenville, SC
  • Hammond, IN
  • Hattiesburg, MS
  • Houghton, MI
  • Houston, TX
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Lehigh Valley, PA
  • Long Beach, CA
  • Madison, WI
  • Meridian, MS
  • Millersville, PA
  • Napervile, IL
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Newark, DE
  • Newark, NJ
  • Oak Ridge, TN
  • Ogden, UT
  • Ottawa, Canada
  • Oxford, MS
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Richmond, VA
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Sammamish, WA
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Urbana, IL
  • Vancouver, WA
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Washington, DC
  • Youngstown, OH

In New Zealand, the NACE Foundation cKit experiments also piqued the interest of Wayne Thomson, a member of the Australasian Corrosion Association. Recognizing the value and potential to spread corrosion awareness to the younger generation, Thomson visited Bucklands Beach Primary School in Auckland, New Zealand. There, he demonstrated experiments from the cKit, and engaged a class of Year 5 students (9 year olds), teaching them about the destructive effects of corrosion.

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Wayne Thomson visits Buckland Beach Primary School to demonstrate cKit experiments to Year 5 students

To begin, students discussed the effects of corrosion on everyday items made of iron, such as cars and bridges, and the importance of corrosion prevention. Thomson explained that it is possible to prevent items from corroding by removing oxygen and the electrolyte from the environment. Students then participated in a demonstration of cKit Experiment #3: “Fruit ‘Juice’ Objective,” and learned about the basic principles of electrochemistry: the movement of electrons between a metal surface and an electrolyte. From this experiment, students discovered that a current can be generated by inserting strips of zinc and copper into a lemon. The zinc functions as the anode and deteriorates, while the copper acts as the cathode to consume the electrons produced by the reaction. In addition to electrochemistry, the experiment exposed students to principles in cathodic protection and the galvanic series, where metals low on the galvanic series, such as zinc, act as sacrificial anodes to metals higher on the galvanic series, such as copper.

Thomson’s demonstration at Buckland Beach Primary School is one example of how the NACE Foundation cKit is a great tool for engaging the future generation in corrosion prevention. The program would not be successful without the support of Carboline Company, long-time sponsor since the cKit’s inception in 2005. The NACE Foundation would also like to extend our gratitude to Tinker & Rasor for donating the voltmeter components to this year’s cKits.

Without the hard work of our participating teachers and cKit supporters like Wayne Thomson, the NACE Foundation would not be successful in its efforts to inspire the next generation of corrosion professionals.

Originally published in Materials Performance, December 2014

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