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Concept Inventories For Shape Memory Alloys And Piezoelectric Materials

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Novel Upper-Level Materials Curricula

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.333.1 - 9.333.8



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Paper Authors

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Rita Caso

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Jeff Froyd

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Dimitris Lagoudas

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

Session 2164

Concept Inventories for Shape Memory Alloys and Piezoelectric Materials

Jeff Froyd, Rita Caso, Dimitris Lagoudas

Texas A&M University


New materials with attractive properties for design, so-called smart materials such as shape memory alloys and piezoelectric materials, are being introduced rapidly and incorporated into diverse applications. Since these materials change engineering practice, these materials are being introduced into undergraduate engineering curricula. However, the degree to which students understand concepts associated with these materials is difficult to assess. As the work by Hestenes and Halloun on the Force Concept Inventory has shown, students may pass science and engineering courses but still retain alternate conceptions about the topics presented in the courses. Therefore, substantial interest in concept inventory assessment instruments for many engineering subjects, e.g., materials, signals and systems, fluid mechanics, has been generated and numerous projects are underway. Since smart materials are being introduced into undergraduate engineering curricula, assessing students’ understanding of these smart materials would be reasonable. Therefore, two new concept inventories, one on shape memory alloys and one on piezoelectric materials, are being developed as part of a Combined Research and Curriculum Development (CRCD) project at Texas A&M University. The paper will describe the background for concept inventories. Then, concept inventories for both types of materials will be described in parallel presentations. First, concepts associated with the material will be described and then sample questions designed to assess understanding of these concepts will be presented. Results from students who have taken preliminary versions of each concept inventory will be presented.


Curriculum innovation projects that introduce new topics into undergraduate engineering curricula have two curricular challenges. First, they must determine how well students have grasped the new material. Second, they must prepare a transferrable instructional plan to facilitate learning of the new material, based upon the successful teaching and learning experiences in the pilot. The second challenge is regularly confronted and many curricular pilot projects have produced and shared instructional materials for the new material that the project teams have introduced into their curricula. However, fewer resources have been generated for the first challenge. This paper describes a curriculum innovation project that intended to incorporate so-called smart materials and intelligent systems into undergraduate engineering curricula at Texas A&M University (TAMU). In addition to describing the curricular innovations, the goal of the paper is to present two concept inventory assessment instruments that have been constructed to ascertain the degree to which students have acquired a conceptual understanding of the innovative topics that have been introduced into the curriculum.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Caso, R., & Froyd, J., & Lagoudas, D. (2004, June), Concept Inventories For Shape Memory Alloys And Piezoelectric Materials Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13546

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