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Development And Implementation Of Challenge Based Instruction In Statics And Dynamics

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Teaching Mechanics of Materials & General Mechanics

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.397.1 - 15.397.18



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Paper Authors

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Robert Freeman University of Texas, Pan American

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Horacio Vasquez University of Texas, Pan American

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Martin Knecht South Texas College

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Taylor Martin Univ of Texas at Austin

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Arturo Fuentes University of Texas, Pan American

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Joan Walker Long Island University

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Araceli Ortiz Tufts University

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

Development and Implementation of Challenge-Based Instruction in Statics and Dynamics

Abstract This paper discusses challenge-based instructional (CBI) materials developed for courses in Statics and Dynamics. This effort is a component of a funded College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) grant from the Department of Education, and focuses on student retention and development of adaptive expertise. Studies have shown that minority science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students leave STEM undergraduate fields in part due to lack of real world connections to their classroom learning experiences. Furthermore, in STEM fields the conventional approach is to teach for efficiency first and for innovation only in the latter years of the curriculum. This focus on efficiency first can actually stifle attempts at innovation in later courses. Our response to these issues is to change the way we teach. CBI, a form of inquiry based learning, can be simply thought of as teaching backwards. In this approach, a challenge is presented first, and the supporting theory (required to solve the challenge) second. Our implementation of CBI is built around the How People Learn (HPL) framework for effective learning environments and is realized and anchored by the STAR Legacy Cycle, as developed and fostered by the VaNTH NSF ERC for Bioengineering Educational Technologies. The developed materials are a result of collaboration between faculty members at the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) and South Texas College (STC), a two year Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).

1. Introduction

1.1 Overview of Supporting Grant This work reported in this paper describes results of one of the ongoing activities of an integrated STEM pathways support initiative for the Rio South Texas Region. This initiative is a collaboration between UTPA and STC to facilitate student engagement and success in STEM areas. With funding from a College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) grant from the Department of Education, the two institutions are developing and supporting strategies that will facilitate the success of Hispanics and other low income students in STEM areas.

1.2 Rationale for Challenge-Based Instruction The activity described herein involves the development and implementation of Challenge-Based Instruction (CBI) in selected key courses, in particular, Statics and Dynamics. This activity has two foci, student retention and the student’s development of adaptive expertise. Student Retention Research points to a need to see the relevance of studies to the real world1 as one of four key reasons for minority-STEM students’ decision to drop-out or transfer out of STEM undergraduate fields of study. The need to relate their studies to the real world results because minority students lack an equitable number of career influencers and role models within their families and familiar networks. Thus, when minority students select STEM fields of study, they experience an immediate need to confirm the relevance and compatibility of their studies and

Freeman, R., & Vasquez, H., & Knecht, M., & Martin, T., & Fuentes, A., & Walker, J., & Ortiz, A. (2010, June), Development And Implementation Of Challenge Based Instruction In Statics And Dynamics Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16904

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