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Implementation of Differentiated Active-Constructive-Interactive Activities in an Engineering Classroom

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Active and Inquiry-Based Learning

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.812.1 - 22.812.21



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Paper Authors


Muhsin Menekse Arizona State University

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Muhsin Menekse is pursuing a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in the Science Education program at Arizona State University concurrently with a M.A. degree in Measurement, Statistics and Methodological Studies. He had research experiences in the areas of conceptual change of naïve ideas about science, argumentation in computer supported learning environments, and video game design to support students’ understanding of Newtonian mechanics. Muhsin is currently working under the supervision of Dr. Michelene Chi to develop and implement a classroom-based methodology with instructional materials, activities, and assessments by using a cognitive framework of differentiated overt learning activities for designing effective classroom instruction in materials science and engineering.

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Glenda Stump Arizona State University

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Glenda Stump is a Post-doctoral Scholar in the School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Dr. Stump earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and a certificate in Educational Technology from Arizona State University in May of 2010.

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Stephen J. Krause Arizona State University

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Stephen J. Krause is Professor in the School of Materials in the Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University. He teaches in the areas of bridging engineering and education, capstone design, and introductory materials engineering. His research interests are evaluating conceptual knowledge, misconceptions and their repair, and conceptual change. He has co-developed a Materials Concept Inventory for assessing conceptual knowledge of students in introductory materials engineering classes. He is currently conducting research with NSF sponsored projects in the areas of: Modules to Promote Conceptual Change in an Introductory Materials Course, Tracking Student Learning Trajectories of Atomic Structure and Macroscopic Property Relationships, and Assessing the Effect of Learning Modes on Conceptual Change.

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Michelene T.H. Chi Arizona State University

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Micki Chi is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University.
She is a member of the National Academy of Education. She is also a fellow in Cognitive Science, American Psychological Association, and American Psychological Society. Her research focuses on how teachers can enhance students' learning by making them more constructive and interactive. She is also interested in developing interventions that can help students understand the interlevel causal relations between micro-level elements and macro-level patterns of many science processes.

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The Effect of Differentiated Activities on Engineering Students’ LearningThere has been a recent interest for the effectiveness of in-class activities on students’ learning inengineering education. However, the literature treats in-class activities as a single construct, aseither “passive” or “active”. However, Chi has differentiated “active” activities into three types-- active-constructive-interactive, based on their overt activities. Moreover, a hypothesis thatinteractive activities may be more effective than constructive, and constructive more effectivethan active, is generated based on the unique cognitive processes associated with each type ofactivity. In this study, we developed in-class activities for an introductory materials science andengineering class based on Chi’s framework. We have generated eight activities in total; threeactive, two constructive and eight interactive. In active activities, students are asked tomanipulate the learning materials in some way. For example, in one of the active activities,students are asked to match the most likely property, material, bonding, and processes formotorcycle parts. Students are asked to choose these options from a given list of property,material, bonding and processes. In an active activity, the cognitive expectation is that studentswill pay attention to the learning materials, activate existing knowledge, search existingknowledge, assimilate, encode, or store new information. In constructive activities, students areasked to create something new that is not in the learning materials. For example, in one of theconstructive activities, students are asked both to draw crystallographic planes based on thegiven Miller indices, and determine the Miller indices based on the drawn planes. The cognitiveexpectation of a constructive process is that students will infer new knowledge, integrate newknowledge with existing knowledge, or restructure own knowledge individually. Lastly, ininteractive activities, students are asked to work in teams or small groups. For instance, in one ofour interactive activities, students in small groups are asked to construct a structured conceptmap about bonding and justify their reasoning for all the related concepts. The expectedcognitive outcome is that they may jointly create processes, construct new knowledgecollaboratively, or to generate ideas beyond one can do individually.For each activity, we generated four quiz questions to measure students’ learning after they haveundertaken a given activity. Two questions are multiple-choice two are open-ended. The firstquestion of each quiz is a verbatim type multiple choice question, the second question is aknowledge inference type open-ended question, the third question is a comprehension inferencetype question, and the fourth question is a knowledge inference type question. The questioncategories represent the different levels of complexity and/or taxonomy.The implementation of this study has been carried out during September 2010. Approximately,40 materials science and engineering students participated to this study. The preliminary resultsshowed that: (1) Students did significantly better on questions related to interactive activitiesthan they did for the active activities, (2) students did significantly better on questions related toconstructive activities than they did for the active activities, (3) and students performed better onmore difficult questions related to interactive activities than they did for constructive activities.Overall, the preliminary results provide promising findings for the predicted relativeeffectiveness of the various active-constructive-and-interactive activities in engineeringeducation.

Menekse, M., & Stump, G., & Krause, S. J., & Chi, M. T. (2011, June), Implementation of Differentiated Active-Constructive-Interactive Activities in an Engineering Classroom Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18093

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