Asee peer logo

Effective Approaches for Teaching STEM-literacy for All Majors: The Example of Resonance

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Engineering Literacy: Champions of Engineering in General Education

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Maria E. Garlock Princeton University

visit author page

Maria Garlock is an Associate Professor at Princeton University in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering where she is the Director of the Architecture and Engineering Program. Her scholarship is in resilient building design and in studies of the best examples of structural designs of the present and past. She has co-authored the book Felix Candela: Engineer, Builder, Structural Artist and has recently launched a MOOC titled "The Art of Structural Engineering: Bridges."

visit author page


Aatish Bhatia Princeton University

visit author page

Aatish Bhatia is an Associate Director (Engineering Education) in Princeton University's Council on Science and Technology. He works with faculty in engineering and related disciplines on incorporating active learning in the classroom and bringing science and engineering to a wider audience.

visit author page


Evelyn Hanna Laffey Princeton University

visit author page

Dr. Evelyn Hanna Laffey is the Associate Director of the Princeton University Council on Science and Technology. Previously, she served as the Assistant Dean for Engineering Education at the Rutgers University School of Engineering. She has a bachelors degree in mathematics and doctorate in mathematics education from Rutgers University. She has over fifteen years of experience working with K-16 students and educators. She is interested in exploring the intersection of cognition, affect, and identity within STEM education and operationalizing research findings to provide an excellent and equitable education to all students.

visit author page

Download Paper |


STEM education should not be focused solely on producing STEM professionals. Universities educate students who often transition in to leadership positions in government, education, civic administration, law and business, with significant influence in society. Thus it is our obligation to graduate students who can question, think, and analyze for themselves, and are scientifically and technically literate. Recognizing this, most universities require non-STEM students to take at least one STEM class.

This paper illustrates effective teaching practices of an introductory course on structural engineering – to all majors – with research-based pedagogical techniques. The approach that has been taken to meet the objectives of effective practices, and evaluation is to “predict, experience, reflect” within the context of teaching fundamental physics as applied to engineering design. In this paper the research-based pedagogical techniques of teaching resonance in tall buildings is illustrated.

Evaluation studies show that 90% of students reported moderate to great gain in interest in engineering; 100% reported moderate to great gain in recognizing engineering as a creative profession; 78% reported moderate to great gain in understanding how engineering helps people address real world issues; and, on average, 86% of students reported a moderate to great grain in their civil engineering content knowledge. Furthermore, a large majority of students reported moderate, good, or great learning gains from lecture demonstrations (100%), from the instructional approach taken in the class (95%), and from the hands-on activities (95%). These last 3 results further highlight the efficacy of the active learning pedagogies being developed and implemented in this course.

Garlock, M. E., & Bhatia, A., & Laffey, E. H. (2017, June), Effective Approaches for Teaching STEM-literacy for All Majors: The Example of Resonance Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28205

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015