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Assessing First-Year Physics Mechanics Knowledge and Skills Needed for a Sophomore Statics and Dynamics Course

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Collection

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Innovations in Teaching Physics or Engineering Physics I

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

Page Count

16

Page Numbers

22.239.1 - 22.239.16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/17520

Download Count

34

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Paper Authors

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Kristi J. Shryock Texas A&M University

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Kristi J. Shryock is a Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Programs in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. She received both a B.S. and M.S. in
Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M and received her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Engineering at Texas A&M in May 2011. Her research work focuses on engineering education.

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Arun R. Srinivasa Texas A&M University, Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Prof. Srinivasa obtained his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras in 1986. He subsequently obtained a Ph.D. at UC, Berkeley and has been a faculty in the mechanical Engineering Department at Texas A&M University. He is one of the curriculum coordinators for the freshman engineering program of the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University, and was also part of the committee that developed the current statics and dynamics class for the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

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Jefferey E. Froyd Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-4426-2681

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Jeffrey E. Froyd is the Director of Faculty Climate and Development at Texas A&M University. He served as Project Director for the Foundation Coalition, an NSF Engineering Education Coalition in which six institutions systematically renewed, assessed, and institutionalized their undergraduate engineering curricula, and extensively shared their results with the engineering education community. He co-created the Integrated, First-Year Curriculum in Science, Engineering and Mathematics at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, which was recognized in 1997 with a Hesburgh Award Certificate of Excellence. He has authored or co-authored over 70 papers on engineering education in areas ranging from curricular change to faculty development. He is collaborating on NSF-supported projects for 1.) renewal of the mechanics of materials course, 2.) improving preparation of students for Calculus I, and 3.) systemic application of concept inventories. He is currently an ABET Program Evaluator and a Senior Associate Editor for the Journal on Engineering Education.

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Abstract

Assessing First-year Physics Mechanics Knowledge and Skills needed for a Sophomore Statics and Dynamics CourseAnecdotally, engineering faculty members complain that students taking sophomore engineeringscience courses are not prepared with respect to mechanics-based physics. However, evidencehas rarely been systematically collected and analyzed to determine the veracity of theseassertions. To begin to address this issue, the following steps were taken. First, engineeringfaculty members who taught a sophomore statics and dynamics course at a large publicuniversity were asked for problems involving first-year physics mechanics that they thoughtstudents should be able to solve when they entered this course. For each problem, one or morelearning outcomes were abstracted. Given the set of learning outcomes engineering facultymembers expected students to be able to perform, a set of 17 problems was generated to be givento students near the beginning of the statics and dynamics course. The instrument has beenadministered to a set of students who took the course summer 2010 as well as a set of studentswho took the course in fall 2010. The paper will describe: • Some of the problems that were submitted by engineering faculty members • The set of learning outcomes that was generated • The pre-course assessment instrument for physics knowledge and skills that was generated, and • Results from over 350 students who took the pre-test.The intent of the paper is to clarify answers to two questions: • What do engineering faculty members expect students to know and be able to do when they begin a sophomore statics and dynamics course? • To what extent do students satisfy these expectations?After administering the instrument and analyzing the results, faculty members have a better ideaof the background of their students and can adjust course content. Further, there will be evidenceto examine the extent to which students are prepared in physics mechanics to begin a coreengineering science course. Finally, the paper will also present changes that some facultymembers made in the course plans to apply what they learned about the extent of their students’preparation in physics near the beginning of the course.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015