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A Mechanics Race! An Exam Review Activity

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Best in 5 Minutes: Demonstrating Interactive Teaching Activities

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Anthony Battistini Angelo State University

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Dr. Anthony Battistini is an Assistant Professor in the David L. Hirschfeld Department of Engineering at Angelo State University. He received his BSCE (2007) degree from Lehigh University and an MS (2009) and PhD (2014) degree from The University of Texas at Austin. His expertise is in structural design, with an emphasis in steel bridge structures and connections. Prior to his current institution, Dr. Battistini also held assistant professor positions at Washington State University (2013-2014) and George Mason University (2014-2017). Throughout his career, his primary responsibility as a faculty member has been teaching students, for which he aspires to provide them with a quality and enjoyable experience.

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Reviewing for exams can sometimes be tedious and overwhelming for students. While it is imperative the students know the content for the exams, reviewing concepts only or using instructor-solved examples may not help prepare the students as well as if the students practiced problems.

Welcome to AMechanics Race! In this engaging activity, teams of students race around campus solving Mechanics of Materials problems, attempting to be the first ones to reach the finish line. Modeled after the television show “The Amazing Race”, the instructor provides clues to various locations on campus. Each clue contains a mechanics problem that must be solved in order to determine the room number and building of the next location. When teams arrive at these places, clues can either be given to them by prearranged individuals or by taping them outside the appropriate doors. The final clue leads the team to a location on campus where the instructor awaits them. Prizes for top finishers include bonus points on exams or a chance to pick an item from the Engineering Prize Box.

This final exam review activity has been used numerous times by the author and is an experience greatly enjoyed by the students. To distribute the clues, the instructor has involved other faculty/staff in the department, as well as administrative leaders like the Department Chair and Dean. The instructor has noted that many students are intimidated to receive their clue from the Department Chair or Dean, but with this activity, the students have the opportunity to interact with them in a fun, low-threat context. The instructor ultimately collects the completed clues for grading and assessment. This paper will provide instructions on developing the activity and modifying it from semester to semester, and will present qualitative feedback and the available quantitative data.

Battistini, A. (2021, July), A Mechanics Race! An Exam Review Activity Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36592

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