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Differentiated Instructions In Statics Learning

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Innovative Teaching Techniques in Mechanics

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.542.1 - 12.542.6



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Paper Authors


Rungun Nathan Villanova University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Rungun Nathan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical engineering at Villanova University. He got his BS from University of Mysore, DIISc from Indian Institute of Science, MS from Louisiana State University and PhD from Drexel University. He worked as a post-doc at University of Pennsylvania in the area of Haptics. His research interests are in the areas of ornithopters, mechatronics, robotics, MEMS, virtual reality and haptics, and teaching with technology. He is an active member of ASEE and ASME.

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

Differentiated Instructions (DI) in teaching undergraduate statics


This paper presents the first time implementation of DI in an engineering sophomore Statics class, along with qualitative feedback obtained from informal student survey and anecdotal observations. Several academically advanced students have really liked the approach and find that it meets their individual needs, while addressing the instructional needs of their fellow classmates whose wants in a classroom are slightly different. The paper discusses the planning and implementation process involved using examples, which the author hopes will assist other instructors in DI adoption as a means of addressing the needs of a varied student population in any given classroom.


"Three principles from brain research: emotional safety, appropriate challenges, and self constructed meaning suggest that a one-size-fits-all approach to classroom instruction is ineffective for most students and harmful to some." 1 Still classroom teaching/instruction at most colleges and universities is carried out with the one-size-fits-all approach. While most school districts in the United States of America implement DI in their public schools that will address students with diverse needs, abilities, strengths, experiences and interests in order to best support their learning, most colleges do not adopt this technique. So what is differentiated instruction? According to Tomlinson and Allan: “The idea of differentiating instruction to accommodate the different ways that students acquire knowledge involves a hefty dose of common sense, as well as sturdy support in the theory and research of education. It is an approach to teaching that advocates active planning for student differences in classrooms.” 2 DI calls for teachers to be proactive in utilizing a wide array of curricular and instructional approaches. 3 Active learning involves students in solving problems, answering questions, formulating questions of their own, discussing, explaining, debating, or brainstorm during class. 4 DI utilizes several aspects of active and co-operative learning, but also adds the detail of accommodating the needs of different students ranging from the advanced learner to the remedial learner.

During the past few years of teaching, personal experience has shown that all students in a class are not of “one-size” as far as learning and instruction needs are concerned. Still most educators adopt the “one-size-fits-all” approach to teaching undergraduate classes. Discussion with colleagues about students being bored in classes because they learn quickly often leads to comments like: “they should be in an Ivy-league university” or “they should have opted for top research schools”, “they should not be in our undergraduate programs” is often heard. Most instructors are more inclined to these statements than take the bold approach that classroom instructions can be modified to address varying needs. As teachers, most of us will agree that teaching to the average, or just above average will address the needs of most of the students. Still as teachers we also realize that this approach partly short changes the weaker and brighter students. Based on these observations, work has been done to use the model of DI in teaching an undergraduate statics class. The next few paragraphs describe the planning and first time

Nathan, R. (2007, June), Differentiated Instructions In Statics Learning Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2187

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