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Integration Of Engineering Concepts In Freshman Calculus

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Integrating Mathematics, Science, and Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.938.1 - 12.938.8



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Paper Authors


John Quintanilla University of North Texas

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Associate Professor, Mathematics Department
PhD, Princeton University

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Nandika D'Souza University of North Texas

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Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Department
PhD, Texas A&M University

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Jianguo Liu University of North Texas

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Associate Professor Mathematics Department
PhD, Cornell University

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Reza Mirshams University of North Texas

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Professor Reza Mirshams is Associate Dean of Engineering for Academic Affairs at the University of North Texas. Dr. Mirshams has degrees in Industrial Metallurgy and Metallurgical Engineering in the area of mechanical behavior of metals and alloys from the University of Birmingham, England and the University of Tehran. He is a Full Professor in the area of Materials Science and Engineering in the Engineering Technology with joint appointment in the Materials Science and Engineering Departments. He has been a Principal Investigator and Project Director for several engineering education grants for undergraduate research experience, a bridge and mentoring program, departmental curriculum reforms, and innovative interdisciplinary project oriented engineering education programs.

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

Integration of Engineering Concepts in Freshman Calculus

1. Introduction

Traditionally, basic sciences, physics and chemistry, and mathematics are required as core subjects for engineering education and have been taught independently by faculty members from mathematics and basic sciences. The National Science Foundation has awarded several projects to study mathematics and science education nationally. One of the awards is to the Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (CRESMET) at Arizona State University to investigate how best to support integrate instruction of mathematics, science, and engineering design. This investigation is an ongoing project at CRESMET and the disseminated results have shown the importance of integration of mathematical modeling in pedegogy and learning of scientific and engineering concepts. CASEE (The Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education, an operating center of the National Academy of Engineering) has coordinated several research projects on learning approaches in the engineering education1. Also, a NSF supported project on mathematical modeling in engineering education (M2E2) recently reported2 the significance of mathematical simulation in engineering education and retention by testing in a freshman introductory course. In particular, the results give a positive observation on female engineering students. A recent review in January 2005 of the Journal of Engineering Education3 has pointed out positive results of integrated engineering curricula in retention and diversity promotion and several future directions for research. In this paper, we report our findings in running a pilot course for Calculus I (a required course for all students in the College of Engineering) with a new joint teaching approach by engineering and mathematics faculty members. The course contents have been developed by joint collaboration of the faculty members by the mathematics department and engineering faculty and it has been taught using team teaching. In this endeavor, the concept of integration of engineering concepts embedded in model-eliciting activities has been implemented. To examine the effect of the new approach, another group of freshman engineering students attended the same calculus course with a traditional teaching approach in the same semester. Assessment methodologies have been implemented to determine the degree of success on the students’ learning and interest in the engineering profession.

2. Principles

In this section, we discuss the principles that we used when designing our engineering calculus sections.

2.1 Illustration of engineering applications. Many calculus textbooks include homework problems and examples that illustrate examples of mathematics. However, in most cases, these examples are mostly motivated by physics, with additional applications in economics and biology. Furthermore, many of these textbooks examples are somewhat


Quintanilla, J., & D'Souza, N., & Liu, J., & Mirshams, R. (2007, June), Integration Of Engineering Concepts In Freshman Calculus Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2522

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