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STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education has begun to rely on novel techniques and technologies as pedagogical tools to facilitate hands-on learning. One of these emerging technologies is the microbial fuel cell; a battery powered by the metabolic activity of common soil bacteria. This project tests the key factors that can affect a microbial fuel cell’s capacity for power generation, including the microbial community present in soil samples, the addition of isolated electrogenic bacterial strains, and the availability of oxidizable, carbon-rich nutrients. These factors come together to suggest a novel application for Shewanella species of electrogenic bacteria in optimizing the design of a simple, efficient single chamber microbial fuel cell. As a result of this optimization, the microbial fuel cell can be employed easily and consistently in a classroom setting. This project also includes lesson plans for implementing the microbial fuel cell as a tool for model- and problem-based learning in elementary through advanced high school science classes while satisfying the New York State Common Core standards for science education.
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Szegedy-Maszak, Andrea Maria, "Optimization of the Microbial Fuel Cell for Use in Novel STEM Pedagogy" (2016). Senior Projects Spring 2016. 89.
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