Asee peer logo

Incorporating Math And Design In High School Physics

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Math and K-12-Freshman Transitions

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.743.1 - 10.743.7



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Fengfeng Zhou

Download Paper |

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

Incorporating Math and Design in High School Physics

Fengfeng Zhou

University of Cincinnati


Global competition is intense not only in business, but also in education. Although the most recent report (2003) from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)1 reported progress for U.S. 8th-graders in their math and science performance, the newest report (2003) from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)2 showed that 15-year-old U.S. students rank near the bottom of industrialized countries in math skills. To promote inquiry-based learning of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills in K-12 education and cope with the rapid advancement in science and technology, the National Science Foundation has funded a number of research projects at dozens of universities nationwide. One of these projects is the Science and Technology Enhancement Program (STEP) currently being conducted at the University of Cincinnati. Graduate and undergraduate fellows of Project STEP are placed in different secondary schools to work with math and science teachers. The main responsibility of a fellow is to develop and implement hands-on activities that are creative, engineering-focused, and technology-driven. Activities are incorporated into lessons, demonstrations, laboratory exercises, and field experiences. By doing these activities, students will experience authentic scientific and engineering research and design practices that require higher-order thinking skills and problem-solving skills. This will enable students to develop a better understanding of science and engineering and hopefully foster a desire to advance their education in a related field.

The author, as a participant of project STEP, developed several modules to teach seniors at Hughes High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. One of these modules was designed to strengthen and test students’ knowledge about moment (torque) through studies of (mechanical) cranes. The overall objective of this module was to increase student interest in physics and engage them in the learning process. To this end, technology related to cranes was introduced at the beginning. The module included two sessions. Each session lasted 1.5 hours and contained a hands-on activity. These activities aligned with the science and math standards of Ohio and were designed to be attractive and challenging. All lectures for this module were delivered with PowerPoint slides. Most slides contain one or two graphics to illustrate the content being covered. Students were assessed by grading the worksheets they completed. They were also given an opportunity to evaluate the module, the implementation, and the performance of the instructor.

Students were given a model crane for the first activity. They were required to find the minimum tension force in the cable that held the jib in position. They were required to solve this problem experimentally first, then mathematically by drawing a free body diagram of the jib,

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering

Zhou, F. (2005, June), Incorporating Math And Design In High School Physics Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15130

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: © 2005 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