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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 21 (2016) pp 15-22

Got Caffeine in your Beverage and Fe in your Diet? Hands-on Professional Development Workshop for K–12 Science Educators

Sayo O. Fakayode*,, Vincent T. Snipes, and Margaret I. Kanipes

Department of Chemistry, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC, 27411,; Center for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education, Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC, 27110 Received November 13, 2015. Accepted January 6, 2016.

Published: 15 January 2016

Abstract. A four-day professional development program (PDP) workshop was offered for targeted K–12 science and mathematics educators in the state of North Carolina to promote the use of pedagogy that involves active learning and hands-on experiences in K–12 science education. Specifically, the use of a UV-visible absorption spectrophotometric determination of caffeine in 20 selected sodas, teas, and energy drinks was conducted for the science educators in a guided-inquiry laboratory experiment (GILE) format. In addition, the determination of iron (Fe) content of selected fruits and vegetables (tomato, cucumber, apple, okra, bitter melon, eggplant, upo squash, grapes, peach, and squash) that were collected from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCA&T) farm by use of a microwave-assisted sample digestion and flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (FAAS) analysis was conducted at the workshop to further train the educators in the use of a FAAS analytical instrument. The determined caffeine concentrations from the GILE by the educators favorably compared with the actual caffeine concentrations in the samples, as demonstrated by the low values of the relative errors of the analysis. The levels of the determined levels of Fe in fruit and vegetable samples ranged between 5.67 and 71.1 μg/g, with an overall average Fe concentration of 39.6± 18.2 μg/g. The results of the PDP workshop GILE exercises were utilized to discuss the real-world and practical application of the concept of molecular and atomic absorption techniques, sample and standard preparation, Beer’s law, construction of calibration curves, and regression analysis. The results of the PDP GILE analysis were further used to discuss the concept of experimental errors, data analysis, and the use of Microsoft Excel. The PDP workshop was also used as an avenue to discuss and to create awareness among the K–12 educators of the health implications of excessive caffeine and soda intake among the school age students, which can cause childhood obesity, rapid and/or erratic heartbeat, seizure or death. The results of the post-PDP workshop survey revealed that 92% of the participants plan to use or adapt information from this activity regularly in their educational work setting. Also, 92% of the participants reported that part of the activities such as demonstrations of lab and field experiences of the PDP workshop can be modified or adapted in their classroom. The PDP workshop further stimulated the interest of the participants to participate in future PDP workshops. Most importantly, the PDP workshop has resulted in a continued partnership between the STEM faculty and some of the PDP workshop participants to offer a science field-trip forK–12 students to the North Carolina A&T State University campus laboratory.

Key Words: Of Special Interest; K–12; workshop

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