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Mass Spectrometry Basics for Young Students: An Interactive Laboratory Tour

By Julia H. Jungmann, Nadine E. Mascini, Andras Kiss, Donald F. Smith, Ivo Klinkert, Gert B. Eijkel, Marc C, Berta Cillero Pastor, Kamila Chughtai, Sanaullah Chughtai and Ron M. A. Heeren


It is imperative to fascinate young children at an early stage in their education for the analytical sciences. The exposure of the public to mass spectrometry presently increases through the common media. Outreach activities can take advantage of this exposure and employ mass spectrometry as an exquisite example of an analytical science that children can be fascinated for. The presented teaching modules introduce young children to mass spectrometry and give them the opportunity to experience a modern research laboratory. The modules are highly adaptable and can be applied to young children from the age of 6 years to 14 years. In an interactive tour, the students explore three major scientific concepts related to mass spectrometry; the building blocks of matter, charged particle manipulation by electrostatic fields and analyte identification by mass analysis. Also, the students carry out a mass spectrometry experiment and learn to interpret the resulting mass spectra. The multistage, inquiry-based tour contains flexible methods which teach the students currentday research techniques and possible applications to real research topics. Besides the scientific concepts, laboratory safety and hygiene are stressed and the students are enthused for the analytical sciences by participating in “hands-on ” work. The presented modules have repeatedly been practiced during laboratory open days but are equally suitable to complement (early) high school science classes when combined with a laboratory visit. 2

Topics: mass spectrometry, ions, charged particle manipulation, building blocks of matter, science education, open day, open house, outreach
Publisher: 2013-09-23
Year: 2013
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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