June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
22.412.1 - 22.412.20
Educational Benefits of Computational Modeling and Kinesthetic Experimentation Educational theory and research has shown that kinesthetic experimentation andcomputational modeling have a significant influence on the way that students learn science,technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) material. This paper presents evidence thatstudents who have little or no prior knowledge of engineering are able to utilize computersimulations in conjunction with hands-on laboratory experimentation to stimulate theirunderstanding of engineering concepts. Students gain the experience of engineering early intheir high school careers, which may lead to a calling in the engineering field. Through a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored Research Experiences forTeachers (RET) program at the _______, several high school teachers worked with engineeringfaculty on research problems related to hazard mitigation. The project used for the workpresented here is entitled “Air Dispersion Modeling: Planning for Airborne Terrorism Releasesin ____.” The RET participants used AERMOD, a dispersion modeling software based uponGaussian dispersion principles, to predict the ambient concentrations of chlorine gas that wouldresult if released from sites near highly populated areas in ____. The releases were modeledbased upon a number of scenarios that the researchers deemed plausible for a terrorist attack.The research experience was used to develop a lesson plan for a high school chemistry course. Preliminary assessments (pre-survey and pre-test) were conducted to collect demographicdata, gauge the students’ knowledge of and interest in engineering and measure their knowledgeof concepts related to the lesson. The lesson plan was implemented in three phases: a lecturebased on the RET dispersion modeling project, a computer modeling lab during which studentsmodeled a chlorine gas release using AERMOD and a kinesthetic lab during which studentsperformed a microscale experiment involving the release of chlorine gas. In general, the students found that the engineering concepts learned through modeling achlorine gas release were realistic when compared to their observations in the microscalechlorine gas lab. Post-survey and post-test data show significant improvements in students’abilities to relate air dispersion modeling and the effects of a realistic gas release to engineeringconcepts after participating in both the computer simulation and kinesthetic laboratoryexperiment.
Wade, B. C., & Weatherton, Y. P., & Sattler, M. L. (2011, June), Curriculum Exchange: Educational Aspects of Computational Modeling and Kinesthetic Experimentation Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17693
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