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How Misconceptions Might be Repaired Through Inquiry-Based Activities

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Conference

2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015

ISBN

978-0-692-50180-1

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Concepts and Conceptual Knowledge

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

35

Page Numbers

26.858.1 - 26.858.35

DOI

10.18260/p.24195

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/24195

Download Count

87

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Paper Authors

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Gina Cristina Adam University of California, Santa Barbara Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0027-1145

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Gina C. Adam is pursuing her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and a M.A. in Teaching and Learning at University of California, Santa Barbara with the financial support of the International Fulbright Science & Technology Award. Apart from her PhD. work in memristive circuits for stateful logic, she is also interested in content knowledge acquisition in engineering education. Her M.A. thesis investigates conceptual understanding of semiconductor physics among undergraduate students. She has been involved in a variety of other projects related to engineering and engineering education: value-added manufacturing (Dr. Katie Whitefoot), taxonomy of engineering education (Dr. Cynthia Finelli), pioneers in engineering education (Dr.Cynthia Atman) and inquiry-based learning in mechanics (Dr. Brian Self).

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Brian P. Self California Polytechnic State University

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Brian Self obtained his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech, and his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Utah. He worked in the Air Force Research Laboratories before teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy for seven years. Brian has taught in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo since 2006. During the 2011-2012 academic year he participated in a professor exchange, teaching at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. His engineering education interests include collaborating on the Dynamics Concept Inventory, developing model-eliciting activities in mechanical engineering courses, inquiry-based learning in mechanics, and design projects to help promote adapted physical activities. Other professional interests include aviation physiology and biomechanics.

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James M Widmann California Polytechnic State University

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Jim Widmann is a professor of mechanical engineering at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He received his Ph.D. in 1994 from Stanford University and has served as a Fulbright Scholar at Kathmandu University it Nepal. At Cal Poly, he coordinates the departments industry sponsored senior project class and teaches mechanics and design courses. He also conducts research in the areas of creative design, machine design, fluid power control, and engineering education.

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Alexa Coburn California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Alexa is a third year Mechanical Engineering student from Huntington Beach, California. She attends Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and plans on graduating in June 2016. Alexa recently had a Space Operations internship at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems and plans to go back for a second internship this summer. While attending school, Alexa is a part of an educational research team where she develops hands-on learning activities that facilitate student understanding of dynamics concepts. Alexa is passionate about working with children and young adults, specifically young women to broaden their technical understanding and encourage them to pursue education and careers in STEM fields.

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Baheej Nabeel Saoud California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Baheej Saoud is an Aeronautical Engineering senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and is set to graduate in June 2015. He will be continuing on to graduate school in Manufacturing Engineering. Baheej has been contributing to the Cal Poly Dynamics Research team since 2013.

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Abstract

How Misconceptions Might be Repaired through Inquiry Based ActivitiesAlthough widespread in STEM disciplines, traditional instructional methods typically have littlesuccess at producing robust conceptual understanding in students. Nearly 7700 studies in STEMeducation research literature reported on student alternative conceptions. Growing evidence alsoshows that aligning these naïve conceptions to more expert conceptual understanding requiresmore than just pointing out the difference in passing during lecture. An approach that showspromise is inquiry-based instruction. By presenting students with a physical situation and askingthem to predict what will happen, they can then investigate the situation on their own byexperimenting with the laboratory modules. In this way the physical world is now the “authority”rather than the instructor.In this paper, the efficacy of inquiry-based activities used in undergraduate dynamics is explored.This course is often cited as one of the most challenging engineering courses in the curriculum,and many of the topics are in direct conflict with students’ perception of the world around them.An exploratory qualitative study was pursued using a small sample of undergraduate studentstaking a course in dynamics. The students participated in an individual inquiry-based activity thatexamined the relationship between force, mass and acceleration in systems of pulleys. Thestudents were asked to make predictions and explain their reasoning throughout the exercise by“thinking” aloud. Video recordings of students’ engagement were collected and the discoursewas coded as a series of concept maps. The purpose was to look at the student’s existingconcepts and links and how they evolve as the student is exposed to different cases. We alsowanted to understand why their concept maps evolve the way they evolve. By doing this, wedetermined if and when the students had their “ah hah” moment and the path that students take toget there. Our study goes in-depth by trying to determine exactly why the inquiry-based modulesmight work or not. The analysis model developed for this study will possibly serve as a modelfor similar inquiry-based activities in different engineering fields to help evaluate their success.Furthermore, this work could also help broadly in the design of new inquiry-based activities thatincorporate more of the knowledge available in the literature.

Adam, G. C., & Self, B. P., & Widmann, J. M., & Coburn, A., & Saoud, B. N. (2015, June), How Misconceptions Might be Repaired Through Inquiry-Based Activities Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24195

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