June 22, 2003
June 22, 2003
June 25, 2003
8.318.1 - 8.318.11
Construct First, Design Later – A Hands-On Learning Experience in Reinforced Concrete
STEVEN T. KUENNEN and ANTHONY R. BARRETT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, United States Air Force Academy
“Construct First, Design Later.” This is the premise of “Civil Engineering Practices – Field Engineering,” a summer course for newly declared civil and environmental engineering majors at the United States Air Force Academy’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. No other activity during this program captures the premise better then the Concrete Beam Design, Construction, and Testing Event. The event is targeted to a student audience educated in elementary structural analysis but without any formal instruction in reinforced concrete design; however, it offers avenues of instruction for any level student. In a period of less than 3 hours and armed with only a pencil, calculator, and their basic knowledge of how loads affect members under flexure, students are given a fixed amount of concrete and reinforcing steel, and asked to employ these resources to design and construct the strongest beam possible to resist mid-point loading. One week later, students load the beam and watch as it progresses through failure. This hands-on tool bridges the gap between the field and the classroom as the students bring their hands-on experiences to their design courses.
The Importance of Hands-On Experience to the Classroom
A strong desire to provide incoming students with practical experience in the field of civil and environmental engineering led the United States Air Force Academy’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering to develop and offer CE 351, “Civil Engineering Practices – Field Engineering.” This summer course, required for newly declared civil and environmental engineering majors, maintains the motto: “Construct First, Design Later.” The department recognized the importance of hands-on experiences to the success of academic programs and provides three weeks of summer academic instruction devoted to hands-on construction activities as an introduction to the curriculum.
Structural engineering, which is often considered one of the more theoretical and abstract of the civil engineering disciplines, warrants increased hands-on activities to help bridge the gap between design theory and the actual behavior and construction practices students encounter (Morreau 1990). This paper discusses one particular activity within our summer program devoted to introducing students to structural engineering through the design, construction, and testing of a full-sized reinforced concrete beam at the Air Force Academy’s Field Engineering and Readiness Laboratory.
Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education
Barrett, A., & Kuennen, S. (2003, June), Construct First, Design Later – A Hands On Learning Experience In Reinforced Concrete Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. https://peer.asee.org/11574
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