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Comprehensive approach to teaching dynamics of planar mechanisms based on modern learning theories

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering (ME) Poster Session

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.315.1 - 23.315.12



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Paper Authors

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Firas Akasheh Tuskegee University

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Kenneth D Dawson Tuskegee University


Jonathan Rocha Tuskegee University

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Jonathan Rocha is a senior in Mechanical Engineering at Tuskegee University. He was born and attended school in Miami. After high school, Rocha attended Miami-Dade College, received his associate's degree, and transferred to Tuskegee University.

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It is well known that students have different learning styles and for teaching to be effective a non-traditional approaches that can address the different styles should be attempted. Also, according toKolb, learning is most effective if done in a cycle involving experiencing, reflection, thinking andplanning. In this paper, we present an attempt at a comprehensive approach to teaching the courseTheory of Machines, a standard course in the majority of mechanical engineering curricula. First, at thebeginning of the semester, students are asked to conceptualize and realize a feasible system for buildingfour bar linkages. The system has to be universal and meet the kinematic requirements. Then thissystem is used in parallel with the theory presented in class. For example, students are asked to analyzea given mechanism using the analytical solution and implementing them in Excel. The analyzedmechanism is then actually assembled a validation/verification is conducted and the physical andmathematical correspondence between the solution and the mechanism performance is made. Finally,general purpose visualization software is used to animate the spreadsheet results. In this multifacetedapproach, the different learning styles and the different Kolb stages are attended to. Preliminaryformative assessment based on students’ opinion survey indicates that the approach was highlymotivating and that self-confidence was positively impacted upon the completion of the exercise,starting from theory and ending in the creation of animations.

Akasheh, F., & Dawson, K. D., & Rocha, J. (2013, June), Comprehensive approach to teaching dynamics of planar mechanisms based on modern learning theories Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19329

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