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Attitudes And Interests Of Students In Introductory Engineering Courses With Experiments Related To Sports

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.220.1 - 15.220.7



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Paper Authors

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Jennifer Kadlowec Rowan University

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Ali Navvab Gloucester County College

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

Student Interest in Introductory Engineering Courses with Experiments Related to Sports


In an effort to introduce engineering students to mechanical aerospace and chemical engineering principles through a familiar context of sports and sports performance, a multidisciplinary team of faculty and students from two universities and a county college have developed a set of hands- on modules. Experimentation in the modules allow for students to explore topics such as aerodynamics, mechanics of materials, dynamics and transport at an introductory level. At the university, all of these topics are covered in a freshman introduction to engineering course. The students conduct four module experiments; then after this guided instruction, the freshmen work in small teams to develop experiments. In some cases the student chosen experiments may be extensions of those they have completed or changed to incorporate these principles in other sports related testing. These team projects are a major component and design part of the course, after which the students submit a final laboratory report and present their finding in an oral presentation. Additionally, ethics related to engineering and sports are discussed in the freshman course. In the engineering materials course at the county college, students perform experiments in mechanics of materials, as this is the topic of the course. Students later bring in other products to test a section or material sample. The purpose of this paper is to briefly explain the modules and their incorporation into each of the courses and evaluate their attitudes and interests in the sports in engineering topics.


Faculty at two universities and a county college have developed a set of modules for teaching engineering from an applied, hands-on point of view. The basis of the project are the facts that the world of sports provides for an exciting platform to study multidisciplinary engineering principles and that most students can relate to sporting activities in some way or another, either as a participant or spectator. A large portion of the United States population over the age of 6 is frequent exercisers or participants in recreational sports. For example, a 2007 report by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, over 100 million people over the age of 6 walk for fitness and over 75 million of these are walk frequently, defined as greater than 50 days per year. The ‘Big Three’ team sports are football, basketball and baseball. Lacrosse, rugby and field hockey on the rise among team sports; and badminton, racquetball and tennis are showing participation gains among the racquet sports.1 Due to the popularity of sports, studying technology and its effect on sports and sports performance provide a good way to teach basic theories. “Studying some of the dynamic effects contained in sports, we can introduce all of the dynamic systems that we are trying to teach our students. Students tend to tune out when studying the same old greasy gearbox.”2

These ideas were combined with the key features of the undergraduate engineering program, (1) multidisciplinary education through collaborative laboratory and course work; (2) teamwork as the necessary framework for solving complex problems; (3) incorporation of state-of-the-art


Kadlowec, J., & Navvab, A. (2010, June), Attitudes And Interests Of Students In Introductory Engineering Courses With Experiments Related To Sports Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16595

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