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Board # 112 : EEGRC Poster: Using Super Heroes to Relay Biomechanics Principles in Education

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Student Division Poster Session

Tagged Division


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Paper Authors


Anahid Ebrahimi University of Delaware Orcid 16x16

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Ana is a PhD candidate and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Davis. Currently, she studies the mechanics and energetics of walking under varying gait intensities with the intent of contributing to the design and prescription of orthotic and prosthetic devices. Ana was awarded the Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Award in 2016 by her department and is a Teaching Assistant Fellow for the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning.

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Jill Higginson University of Delaware

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Dr. Higginson is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. The fundamental objective of her research group is to improve the understanding of muscle coordination for normal and pathological movements through coupled experimental and simulation studies. In recognition of her contributions, Dr. Higginson was awarded the College of Engineering Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in 2014 and the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2015.

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Recent literature has supported student-centered learning to promote positive learning outcomes and encourages students to take ownership of their learning. There are several ways to achieve student-centered learning, including incorporating projects and team-based learning activities into the classroom. These strategies have shown to be especially successful in engineering education. Furthermore, there has been a recent push by the American Society of Biomechanics, as evidenced by the first annual National Biomechanics Day and 2016 K-12 Outreach Expo, to compile and present ‘hands-on’ biomechanics demonstrations and lab activities to get K-12 school age students excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by showcasing the field of biomechanics to the general public. Therefore, in a new class offered by the University of Delaware Mechanical Engineering department entitled the “Biomechanics of Super Heroes”, the authors developed a group project to encourage student-centered learning through the medium of biomechanics and super heroes. The students’ goal was to create a video and lesson plan that could easily be used as is and/or recreated by teachers in a classroom describing a biomechanics demonstration and/or lab activity using characters from science fiction (preferably a familiar superhero or villain). Students worked in pairs to prepare short educational videos along with lesson plans appropriate for high school aged students. The project was successful, as students used fundamental concepts and super heroes to explain biomechanics. Some examples included using Elastigirl (a super heroine with the ability to stretch her limbs) to explain Hooke’s Law and the Green Arrow (a super hero with exceptional archery skills) to explain projectile motion. The students were assessed based on their chosen topic, presentation of their video, clarity of the lesson plan, time to complete the activity, accuracy of their analysis, and cost of supplies. The students also completed a peer evaluation based on the Oral Communication VALUE rubric from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU). Overall, this video project used a student-centered learning strategy and a fun medium of fictional superhero characters to promote outreach education in the STEM curriculum.

Ebrahimi, A., & Higginson, J. (2017, June), Board # 112 : EEGRC Poster: Using Super Heroes to Relay Biomechanics Principles in Education Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27692

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