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An Indisciplinary, Multisemester Project Relating Differential Equations And Engineering

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Integrating Mathematics and Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.176.1 - 10.176.7



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Paper Authors

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Stephen Pennell

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Peter Avitabile

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John White

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3265


Dr. Stephen Pennell, Professor, Mathematics Department Dr. Peter Avitabile, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department Dr. John R. White, Professor, Chemical Engineering Department University of Massachusetts Lowell One University Avenue Lowell, Massachusetts USA

Abstract Students often do not see the relevance of their mathematics courses to courses in their majors or to their careers. Consequently, their motivation to learn the material in mathematics courses is low, and their retention of this material is poor. This paper describes an interdisciplinary, multisemester project designed to lead students to appreciate the relevance and importance of basic STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) material. Starting in the sophomore level differential equations course and continuing in junior and senior level engineering courses, students analyze dynamic systems from various points of view, including mathematical modeling. This paper describes the project and the modules being developed to implement it.

Introduction Mathematicians teaching service courses for engineering students face a challenging problem. They know it is important for their students to learn the material in these courses. (See [3], for example.) However, they speak “mathematics” and not “engineering,” making it difficult for them to communicate the relevance of the material to their students. The students face a similar problem. They know there is a reason they are required to take mathematics courses, but the reason usually does not become apparent until long after the courses have ended. Consequently, students’ motivation to learn the mathematics is not as great as it could be. Furthermore, by the time they need the mathematics in their upper level engineering courses, they have forgotten much of it because they have not used it in such a long time.

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering"

Pennell, S., & Avitabile, P., & White, J. (2005, June), An Indisciplinary, Multisemester Project Relating Differential Equations And Engineering Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14275

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