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Integration Of Math, Physics And Engineering, A Pilot Study For Success

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.631.1 - 6.631.6



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Paper Authors

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Brett Hamlin

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Gretchen Hein

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

Session 2453

Integration of Math, Physics and Engineering, A Pilot Study for Success

Gretchen L. Hein, Brett H. Hamlin

Department of Engineering Fundamentals, Michigan Technological University


The inherent integration between mathematics, physics, and engineering is obvious to experi- enced engineers and faculty, however, many incoming students find it difficult to see the connec- tions. During the 1999-2000 academic year, a pilot study was conducted at Michigan Technological University to determine the effect of cohort scheduling students into integrated sec- tions of calculus, physics, and first year engineering courses. Calculus-ready students were ran- domly selected and asked to participate in this study. Those declining our offer were used as our comparison group. The comparison and the test groups had similar compositions of majors, SAT/ ACT scores, and high school backgrounds. The results from this study show that the students in the test group scored significantly higher on common exams than did students in the comparison group. Follow-up analysis shows that the students in the test group continue to have higher overall grade point averages, and self-report a higher level of academic confidence that do their peers in the comparison group. This paper details the integration process, including the active collabora- tive teaching/learning styles used in the engineering courses, and recommends strategies for crossing the boundaries between departments and colleges.


In the fall of 2000 Michigan Technological University switched to a common first year for enter- ing engineering students. During the 1999-2000 academic year, in preparation for the common first year engineering program (1), two pilot courses were developed and delivered. In these courses students were taught computer and technical writing skills along with an introduction to the engineering profession. This was done in an active, collaborative learning environment. The students in the pilot group were also “cohort” scheduled in pilot sections of Calculus and Physics to facilitate and help demonstrate the integration between science, math, and engineering

Our goals for this program were threefold: 1) to learn how to integrate these three subjects such that students would recognize the importance of math and physics to engineering, 2) to apply active, collaborative learning/teaching and develop methods which would be incorporated into the common first year engineering program, 3) to assess the learning outcome effects of course inte- gration and cohort scheduling.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Hamlin, B., & Hein, G. (2001, June), Integration Of Math, Physics And Engineering, A Pilot Study For Success Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9436

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