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Games As Teaching Tools In Engineering Mechanics Courses

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Conference

2003 Annual Conference

Location

Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Improving Mechanics of Materials Classes

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

8.591.1 - 8.591.14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/11926

Download Count

483

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Paper Authors

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Richard Hall

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Nancy Hubing

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David Oglesby

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Vikas Yellamraju

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Ralph Flori

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Timothy Philpot

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

Session 2268

Games as Teaching Tools in Engineering Mechanics Courses Timothy A. Philpot, Nancy Hubing, Richard H. Hall, Ralph E. Flori, David B. Oglesby, Vikas Yellamraju

University of Missouri-Rolla

Abstract

The computer as a teaching medium affords new opportunities for creative instructional activities that are not possible in the traditional lecture and textbook format. One such type of activity is the use of interactive games. Several games have been developed and implemented in the Statics and Mechanics of Materials courses at the University of Missouri – Rolla. These games focus on fundamental topics such as centroids, moments of inertia, shear force and bending moment diagrams, the first moment of area Q, and Mohr’s Circle for plane stress. These games seek to develop the student’s proficiency and confidence in narrowly defined but essential topic areas using repetition and carefully constructed levels of difficulty. The game format provides students with a learning structure and an incentive to develop their skills at their own pace in a non-judgmental but competitive and often fun environment. Performance improvements and student reaction to the games are discussed.

I. Introduction

Engineering mechanics courses such as Statics and Mechanics of Materials are courses that seek to develop the student’s ability to analyze basic engineering machines, mechanisms, and structures and to determine the information necessary to properly design these configurations. Fundamental calculations such as centroids, moments of inertia, shear force and bending moment diagrams, and Mohr’s circle transformations are building blocks that students must employ to solve problems and develop designs in a variety of situations. Accordingly, the likelihood of a student’s success in engineering mechanics courses is enhanced if they master these fundamentals.

It is often assumed that repetition leads to proficiency; however, few students relish working dozens of problems on a particular topic. To make the learning process more enjoyable, repetition and drill on a specific topic can be encapsulated in a game context. Through the challenge of the game, the student can receive the benefits of repetition without the sense of labor that they might feel otherwise. A game context provides students with a structure for learning and permits students to develop their skills at their own pace in a non-judgmental but competitive and often fun environment. Since the computer is a medium that is well suited for repetitive processes and for numeric calculations, computer-based games focused on specific calculation processes offer great potential as a new (or perhaps updated) type of learning tool for engineering mechanics courses.

At the University of Missouri – Rolla, several computer-based games have been developed to supplement the Statics and Mechanics of Materials courses. These games focus on narrowly defined topic areas with the intent of helping students develop proficiency in basic calculations. In this paper, games targeted on three fundamental calculation skills – centroids, the first

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Hall, R., & Hubing, N., & Oglesby, D., & Yellamraju, V., & Flori, R., & Philpot, T. (2003, June), Games As Teaching Tools In Engineering Mechanics Courses Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. https://peer.asee.org/11926

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