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Dynamics Evolution Chance Or Design

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.241.1 - 5.241.18



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Phillip J. Cornwell

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

Session 2268

Dynamics Evolution - Chance or Design

Phillip J. Cornwell Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology


Significant innovations and changes have been made in the teaching of dynamics over the past ten years at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. In this paper the author will discuss the history of these changes and how a traditional dynamics course has evolved from being primarily lecture to using cooperative learning and technology, and finally, how the course was integrated with other courses using a common conservation and accounting framework. Details will be provided showing how to effectively utilize technology such as Maple and Working Model and how to involve students more in the educational process using methods such as cooperative learning, plus-deltas, and readiness assessment tests. When Maple and Working Model were first used in the course in 1994 the students were surveyed as to how they felt about these tools. In 1999 this survey was repeated. The results of these surveys and additional assessment results will also be presented. Many changes have been made to the course, but the only significant improvement in student performance occurred when the course was integrated with other courses and the material was taught in a significantly different manner.

I. Introduction

On the first day there was dynamics and it was good.

On the second day a creature came along called “Professor”. Professor saw that dynamics was beautiful and was the foundation of all engineering science. Professor wanted to share the beauty of dynamics by shouting its praises from a mountaintop. Instead, being scared of heights, he wrote dynamics on a blackboard – unable to take his eyes off of what he was writing because of its beauty. And it was good. Thus ended the second day.

On the third day Professor was disturbed by a noise coming from behind him. He turned around and, lo and behold, there were other creatures in the same room with him. He learned these creatures were called “students”. Many of the students had glazed eyes, some were asleep, and some copied frantically everything Professor said or wrote on the board. Professor was disturbed that some would be inattentive in the presence of the beautiful dynamics so he spoke directly to one of the students much to the shock of the students. He said, “You, in the first row. What is ....” And thus began what is now known as Professor/student interaction. Professor found interacting with students to be enjoyable. Through this interaction he discovered, much to his astonishment, that not all students could visualize the motion of objects and that some students suffered from severe “intuition impairment”. To help students, he brought in some physical demonstrations to show the students. And it was good. Thus ended the third day.

Cornwell, P. J. (2000, June), Dynamics Evolution Chance Or Design Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8320

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