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Implementation of Visual Supplements to Strengthen Pedagogical Practices and Enhance the Physical Understanding of Fundamental Concepts in Engineering Mechanics

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Eleazar Marquez Rice University

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Eleazar Marquez is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Rice University.

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Samuel Garcia Jr. Texas State University

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Dr. Samuel García Jr. currently serves as Educator Professional Development Specialist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA and is an Assistant Professor of Practice for the LBJ Institute for Education and Research at Texas State University.

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Samuel Molina Rice University

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Samuel Molina is an undergraduate student at Rice University majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

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Mechanical Engineering is a discipline highly dependent on designing and implementing mechanical, thermal, or energy systems for the improvement of the human environment. Thus being a proficient Engineer involves having a strong mathematical background and a thorough physical understanding on how systems operate in order to apply analytical or numerical schemes during a design process. However, most of the students’ academic development is centered on deriving tedious equations and solving textbook problems, which are difficult to visualize and physically understand, and cloud their intuitive nature to comprehend a problem on its entirety. These conventional approaches and methods of disseminating content in the classroom have a tendency to exclude diverse learning styles of students. Thus, teaching schemes solely focused on covering themes verbatim from a textbook or paraphrasing from a slide presentation are hindering the students’ ability to understand and apply all the engineering principles in design projects. Such technical concern is observed during their senior year Capstone Design course, in which the tendency is to solely utilize engineering software to obtain calculations rather than applying rigorous mathematical techniques to validate their results. In this study, such predicament is addressed by strengthening pedagogical practices through the incorporation of visual supplements during lectures as early as the students’ first Mechanical Engineering course called Engineering Mechanics, and thus enhance the physical understanding of fundamental concepts. In particular, three visual sensor-based supplements were created: crane model, Baltimore-bridge model, and a four-cylinder engine model. The uniqueness of such models is the incorporation of a real-time monitoring system which allows the students to visualize their behavior and correlate between theoretical concepts and physical applications. In addition, results indicate that students enhance their perspective regarding design considerations, calculation requirements, sources of failure, cost reduction, and areas of improvement within the structure or mechanism.

Marquez, E., & Garcia, S., & Molina, S. (2019, June), Implementation of Visual Supplements to Strengthen Pedagogical Practices and Enhance the Physical Understanding of Fundamental Concepts in Engineering Mechanics Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32939

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