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Incorporating DOD Research and Historical Materials into a Second-semester Introductory Calculus-based Physics Course

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Engineering Physics and Physics Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics and Physics

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

18

DOI

10.18260/1-2--32956

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32956

Download Count

91

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Paper Authors

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Mary Yvonne Lanzerotti U.S. Military Academy Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7802-1117

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Dr. Lanzerotti is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Nuclear Engineering at United States Military Academy (West Point, NY). She has conducted research presented at 2017 ASEE on learner-centered teaching techniques in her classes at Air Force Institute of Technology, where she was an Associate Professor of Computer Engineering. She has also held positions at IBM at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center, where she was Instruction Fetch Unit Integrator of the POWER4 microprocessor and co-author on the POWER6 introduction paper at ISSCC. She is author or co-author of six patents and 22 technical journal articles. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the American Physical Society, and is a Senior Member of the IEEE. She received her A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard University, M. Phil. from University of Cambridge (U.K.), and her Ph.D. from Cornell University, all in physics. Her primary research interests are electronic warfare and complex signal processing in the RF domain, and hardware security.

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Kyle Wilhelm United States Military Academy

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Captain Kyle Wilhelm is an instructor in the Core Physics Program with the Department of Physics and Nuclear Engineering at the United States Military Academy. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nuclear Engineering. Most recently, he earned a Master of Science Degree in Nuclear Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA in 2017. His research interests include radiation detection and nuclear physics.

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William M. Meier United States Military Academy

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William M. Meier is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Physics and Nuclear Engineering at the United States Military Academy (USMA). He received his B.S. in nuclear engineering from USMA in 2007 and his M.S. in nuclear engineering from
the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2016. His research interests include radiation detection, nuclear power, and quantum optomechanics.

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Krista Watts United States Military Academy Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6148-9706

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Colonel Krista Watts is an Academy Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the United States Military Academy (USMA). She is a 1996 graduate of USMA with a Bachelor’s of Science in Operations Research. Krista also holds a Master’s of Science in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School and a PhD in Biostatistics from Harvard University. She is the current Director of the Operations Research and Statistics Program in the Mathematical Sciences Department at West Point and serves on several other committees and governance bodies at USMA. She has been an active duty Army officer since 1996, serving in a variety of tactical and operational assignments. Her research interests focus on applied statistical analysis and include Bayesian Methods for Effect Estimation, and analysis of relationships between nutrition, fitness, and obesity in the general population and the military.

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Susan M. Lintelmann United States Military Academy

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Susan Lintelmann is Manuscripts Curator in the Special Collections Division of the USMA Library. She provides exhibits and classes in collaboration with faculty in the departments of English, History, and Geography. She also supplies reference services for local and remote researchers. Ms. Lintelmann holds a B.A. in English and Latin from Wells College, an M.A. in Latin from Trinity College, and an M.Lit. in Comparative Literature from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland). She received an M.S. degree in Library Science from Columbia University.

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Suzanne M. Christoff J.D. United States Military Academy

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Suzanne M. Christoff is the Associate Director for Unique Resources at the United States Military Academy Library. She received her Juris Doctor from Pace University School of Law in 1997 and serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Law at the United States Military Academy.

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Abstract

This paper describes the impact of learner-centered teaching techniques on student learning in a second-semester calculus-based physics course for physics and engineering majors at a public government, undergraduate institution in the United States. Some students also take this course as part of their engineering track courses or as an elective. The course contains four blocks of physics concepts: circuits, waves, gases and fluids, as well as modern physics. Two interventions are introduced in each of the four blocks. These interventions are real-world technical mini-sessions targeting defense applications, and real-world mentorship mini-sessions introducing key physicists and engineers through primary source materials including oral histories and diaries of alumni who have taken physics at the institution since the 1800’s.

The circuits block discusses mechanical computers created to defeat Enigma in the US and UK, the invention of the integrated circuit, and the Manhattan Project. Students are shown the Dayton Codebreakers website (http://daytoncodebreakers.org) and the Nobel Prize Speech of Jack Kilby in which he mentioned that the “turning point” for the transistor “came from two highly visible military programs in the 1960s – the Apollo moon mission and the Minuteman missile.” Students are shown the Einstein-Szilard letter posted at Atomic Heritage.org. In the waves block, students are shown an interview with Bill Wilcox, Oak Ridge Historian, in which he discusses General Groves who led the Manhattan Project in WWII. Students are shown original telegrams describing the Hiroshima and Nagasaki missions in August 1945.

In collaboration with the institutional library's Unique Resources Staff, relevant archival records and manuscripts materials are displayed throughout the semester. Sections of these manuscripts that mention physics concepts and equations studied by previous students during the past two centuries are highlighted for the current students to read.

The course assesses student technical knowledge with two mid-term exams. There is a 10-session laboratory program. There is one comprehensive final exam. Required problems are the same for all students. Each instructor can assign unique homework problems and quizzes.

The research is carried out by assigning students to one of two groups (intervention group and control group). This paper measures the student learning in the course with the use of a pre-test/post-test knowledge gain assessment of course physics concepts. Three instructors are collaborating to offer the intervention to 46 cadets. The two of the previous instructors and one additional instructor are teaching the same physics course but do not offer the intervention (64 students are in the non-intervention group). On the first day of the course, students in the intervention group take a multiple-choice pre-survey consisting of 14 questions related to physics equations covered in the course, 5 questions related to student preparation, and four free response questions. Students in the control group take the same multiple-choice pre-survey with the free response questions removed.

Lanzerotti, M. Y., & Wilhelm, K., & Meier, W. M., & Watts, K., & Lintelmann, S. M., & Christoff, S. M. (2019, June), Incorporating DOD Research and Historical Materials into a Second-semester Introductory Calculus-based Physics Course Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32956

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015