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Experiential Learning In A Fluid Flow Class Via Take Home Experiments

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Conference

2006 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Thermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics Instruction

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

11.620.1 - 11.620.14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--792

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/792

Download Count

260

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Paper Authors

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John Cimbala Pennsylvania State University

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JOHN M. CIMBALA is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State University, University Park. Dr. Cimbala teaches courses in the thermal sciences and conducts research in experimental and computational fluid mechanics and heat transfer. He received his Ph.D. from Caltech in 1984, and has been at Penn State since then. He is co-author of two books – Indoor Air Quality Engineering, Marcel-Dekker, 2003 and Fluid Mechanics: Fundamentals and Applications, McGraw-Hill, 2006. He may be contacted at jmc6@psu.edu.

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Laura L. Pauley

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LAURA L. PAULEY is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State University, University Park and the Arthur L. Glenn Professor of Engineering Education. Since 2000, she has also served as the Professor-in-Charge of Undergraduate Programs in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. Dr. Pauley teaches courses in the thermal sciences and conducts research in computational fluid mechanics. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1988. She may be contacted at LPauley@psu.edu.

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Sarah Zappe

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SARAH E. RZASA ZAPPE is the Testing and Assessment Specialist at the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence at Penn State University. In 2002, Sarah received her Masters degree in educational psychology where she specialized in applied measurement. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the same program. Her interests include the utilization of mixed methods designs in test development and in classroom assessment. She can be reached at ser163@psu.edu.

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Meng-Fen Hsieh Pennsylvania State University

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MENG-FEN MICHELLE HSIEH is Course and Curricular Consultant at the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence at Penn State University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Instructional Systems program at Penn State. Her research interests include exploring factors that affect faculty’s sustainability and diffusion of course innovation as well as designing inquiry-based learning environments. She can be reached at mxh392@psu.edu.

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

Experiential Learning in a Fluid Flow Class via Take-Home Experiments

Abstract

This paper describes the development and assessment of a pump flow take-home experiment that was implemented in an introductory junior-level fluid mechanics course in Fall 2005. The take- home experiment, along with appropriate instructions, is assigned as homework. Students borrow the equipment from the department’s equipment room, and perform the experiment either at home or in the student lounge or student shop work area. The experimental apparatus consists of a bucket, tape measure, submersible aquarium pump, tubing, measuring cup, and extension cord. Students connect the tube to the pump outlet, submerge the pump in water, and measure the volume flow rate produced at various outflow elevations. They record and plot volume flow rate as a function of outlet elevation, and compare with the manufacturer’s pump performance curve (head versus volume flow rate). The homework assignment includes an online pre-test and post- test to assess the change in students’ understanding of the principles of pump performance. The results of the assessment support a significant learning gain following the completion of the take- home experiment. These results and analysis of student perception data collected via an online survey embedded in the homework assignment are discussed.

Introduction

Instructors have reported various ways to introduce physical or numerical hands-on experience into traditional lecture-based courses, either in place of or as supplements to a traditional laboratory experience. Among the papers that are published in archival journals or presented at engineering education conferences, the following alternatives to traditional engineering laboratory instruction are discussed: take-home experiments1, 2, 3 laboratories integrated with lecture4, 5 distance laboratories6, 7 simulated laboratories8, 9, 10

Another portion of the literature that is important to this topic involves the differential experiences that students have in hands-on learning environments, including laboratories, based on their gender11, 12. In many cases, female students are pushed into less active roles, such as analysis of data and writing of reports, in hands-on learning environments. Therefore they fail to get experience that will assist them in developing important skills and improved understanding of the subject matter. It also seems possible that male students who are less confident in their hands-on skills, but are good at analysis and writing, also fail to get full value out of their laboratory experiences; however, evidence to support this hypothesis was not found in the literature. Perhaps an AAUW report13 sums things up the best in recommending that we allow female students “to do the lab.” The take-home experiment discussed here allows all students to conduct the experiment individually or in groups, and at their own pace.

Cimbala, J., & Pauley, L. L., & Zappe, S., & Hsieh, M. (2006, June), Experiential Learning In A Fluid Flow Class Via Take Home Experiments Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--792

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