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Deriving Original Systems of Equations as an Assignment In Engineering and Technology Courses

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Integrating Math Science and Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

22.422.1 - 22.422.10



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Paper Authors


Murray Teitell DeVry University, Long Beach, CA

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Murray Teitell, Ph.D. is a Professor at DeVry University, Long Beach, CA. He teaches courses in mathematics, science and technology. His research interests are algorithms, solutions of equations and active learning. He is a Director of the Mathematics Division of ASEE.

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William S. Sullivan DeVry University, Long Beach

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Deriving Original Systems of Equations as an Assignment In Engineering and Technology CoursesAbstractCourse assignments include a variety of library research papers, lab reports andhomework. Rarely do these assignments call for deriving original mathematicalequations. Yet such derivations are part of creating new systems and concepts. This is askill that undergraduate courses afford little time. On the other hand, many times,students are encouraged to memorize or mimic a derivation from the literature. As anexample there is the derivation of the equation for work by a spring. This derivationfollows by combining Newton’s Second Law of Motion and Hooke’s Law. In thispaper, we describe the authors’ approach to adding original derivation assignments to thecurriculum of their engineering and technology courses and what were the results interms of student outcomes.The procedure for the derivations was as follows: Describe the phenomena. Decipher therelationships. Write equations for each relationship. Combine the relationships into awhole. Three starting positions for the derivations were identified. Starting position 1was to describe the phenomena in words. Starting position 2 was to start with a blockdiagram. Starting position 3 was to start with a set of data for each relationship. Usingposition 3, the data was plotted and a curve fitted using the least square method for linearrelationships and the polynomial fit method for higher order plots. Each starting positioncould be converted to another starting position. For example a word description couldbe converted to sets of data or a block diagram. Examples of systems of equationsderived were a custom filter for a signal processing course, the flow of water through aspecific valve, pipe and bypass system for a mechatronics course, and a tag, readersystem for a RFID system for a product development course. Based on the studentoutcomes, shown in detail are the assignment procedure, a system of classification forthe types of starting positions and the system of equations and the rubric for evaluatingthe derivation assignments.By adding these assignments to engineering and technology courses, students, whenfaced with new data and new situations, will be better able to describe it in equationform.

Teitell, M., & Sullivan, W. S. (2011, June), Deriving Original Systems of Equations as an Assignment In Engineering and Technology Courses Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17703

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