UM-Dearborn students share research with legislators
June 6, 2008
DEARBORN / June 6, 2008---University of Michigan-Dearborn students Katherine Crunk (left) and Cynthia Currado (center) met with Rep. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (right) at the Michigan Undergraduate Research Forum (MURF) at the state capital in May. Crunk and Currado were among more than a dozen UM-Dearborn students who made presentations at the annual event that celebrates undergraduate research at the three U-M campuses as well as Wayne State and Michigan State universities. Crunk lives in Hopgood’s district in Taylor. He was one of a number of legislators and state policymakers who met with students during the program.
Crunk and Currado’s project, which they worked on with School of Education Prof. Susan Everett, used “models in inquiry-based lessons” to address elementary school students’ misconceptions about magnetism.
“We expanded on the current research by using participants from a fourth-grade class and adding assessment methods that utilized the science ‘big idea’ of models,” they wrote. “In our pre-assessment we identified a number of misconceptions; for example, 73 percent of the students believed the size of a magnet determined its strength.” After teaching the lessons they developed, 60 percent of the students correctly understood that size is not an indicator of strength in magnets.
“MURF showcases a diverse array of undergraduate research from psychology and biology to political science and English,” according to Prof. Jonathan Smith, associate dean of CASL and member of the MURF planning committee. “These students, together with their faculty collaborators, are making important contributions to the quality of life and economic vitality of Michigan, and this is a valuable opportunity for them to share their work with leaders in the state.”
Eric Bacyinski, who graduated from campus last month with a bachelor’s degree in political science and environmental studies, was a speaker for the program’s opening session, the only student on the agenda. Bacyinski also presented his own research on “Analyzing Political and Social Trends in Plymouth, Michigan, Using GIS,” which he conducted with natural sciences Profs. Orin Gelderloos and Jacob Napieralski.