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Correlation of Students’ Basic Understanding of Rigid Body Dynamics and Performance in Statics

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Conference

2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Dynamics - Wow! They accelerate

Tagged Division

Mechanics

Page Count

8

Page Numbers

23.344.1 - 23.344.8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/19358

Download Count

123

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Paper Authors

author page

Jeffrey L. Newcomer Western Washington University

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Abstract

Correlation of Students’ Basic Understanding of Rigid Body Dynamics and Performance in StaticsOne of the most common specific difficulties that students display at the completion of a statics class isthe inability or unwillingness to consistently consider both force and moment equilibrium. This outcomehas been clearly demonstrated by student performance on conceptual questions. Too often students eitherbecome specialists and apply only one equilibrium condition, become reactionary and apply the conditionthat context invokes, or conflate force and moment equilibrium into a single condition. It would seem tostand to reason that a student who understands what would happen to a rigid body under load were it notconstrained to be static would have a better foundation upon which to build an understanding of rigidbodies under load that are constrained to be static, and therefore would show improved performance ontraditional and conceptual statics problems. To test this notion, a pair of simple questions with anunconstrained rigid body were devised and given to students on the first day of their Statics class beforeany material had been covered. One question was designed to be more likely to invoke only translation,and the other question was designed to be more likely to invoke rotation, but they are actuallyconceptually identical in effect. Student answers were then analyzed to see whether students understoodthat the body would both translate and rotate in both cases, and coded accordingly. Performance on therigid body motion questions were then correlated to student performance on the Conceptual AssessmentTool for Statics (CATS) pre-test and post-test results (both overall and on the specific equilibriumquestions) and on performance on the final exam. This paper will build off of prior work on studentperformance in Statics, explain the questions and analysis methods used, discuss the results of the study,and outline the future of this project.

Newcomer, J. L. (2013, June), Correlation of Students’ Basic Understanding of Rigid Body Dynamics and Performance in Statics Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19358

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