Asee peer logo

Bringing Graphs Alive in Structural Dynamics

Download Paper |


2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Your Best in 5 Minutes: Demonstrations of Hands-On and Virtual In-Class Teaching Aids

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


James M. Thompson Carnegie Mellon University

visit author page

Jim Thompson is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University. He teaches primarily undergraduate courses, from the first year Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering course to the senior capstone Civil and Environmental Engineering Design course.

Jim's experience and expertise is in structural engineering, and primarily focused on buildings. He has worked as a structural engineer in Baltimore and Pittsburgh, and worked on projects ranging from residential construction to Westinghouse’s AP1000 nuclear power plant.

Jim spent four years in the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps after graduating with a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Villanova University. While in the Navy, he spent 15 months on Adak in the Aleutian Islands as a Public Works Officer, and two years in Jacksonville, Florida as the Officer in Charge of Construction Battalion Unit 420.

Jim earned a Master's at Johns Hopkins and a Ph.D. at Lehigh University. Jim taught at Ohio University before landing at Carnegie Mellon University.

When he is not doing engineering, Thompson sings in a barbershop chorus and quartet.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Textbooks on Structural Dynamics do an excellent job of presenting graphs that show how a dynamic system responds. However, the graphs themselves, being printed in a text, are static. Bringing the graphs alive in the classroom with MathCad allows the instructor to vary the parameters and explore directly the effect of each parameter on the solution. This provides the opportunity for greater insight on the solution.

Thompson, J. M. (2019, June), Bringing Graphs Alive in Structural Dynamics Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32478

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: © 2019 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