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Misconceptions in Rolling Dynamics: A Case Study of an Inquiry-based Learning Activity

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Homework, Learning, and Problem Solving in Mechanics

Tagged Division

Mechanics

Page Count

16

DOI

10.18260/p.25726

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/25726

Download Count

222

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Paper Authors

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Gina C Adam National Institute of Microtechnologies, Romania Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0027-1145

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Gina C. Adam is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Microtechnologies in Romania and a visiting scholar at EPFL in Switzerland with the financial support of the EU Marie Curie individual fellowship. Apart from her work in memristive circuits for novel computing, she is also interested in content knowledge acquisition in engineering education, particularly semiconductor physics and nanotechnology. She has been involved in a variety of other projects related to engineering and engineering education: value-added manufacturing (Dr. Katie Whitefoot), taxonomy of engineering education (Dr. Cynthia Finelli), pioneers in engineering education (Dr.Cynthia Atman) and inquiry-based learning in mechanics (Dr. Brian Self).

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Brian P. Self California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Brian Self obtained his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech, and his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Utah. He worked in the Air Force Research Laboratories before teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy for seven years. Brian has taught in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo since 2006. During the 2011-2012 academic year he participated in a professor exchange, teaching at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. His engineering education interests include collaborating on the Dynamics Concept Inventory, developing model-eliciting activities in mechanical engineering courses, inquiry-based learning in mechanics, and design projects to help promote adapted physical activities. Other professional interests include aviation physiology and biomechanics.

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James M Widmann California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Jim Widmann is a professor of mechanical engineering at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He received his Ph.D. in 1994 from Stanford University and has served as a Fulbright Scholar at Kathmandu University it Nepal. At Cal Poly, he coordinates the departments industry sponsored senior project class and teaches mechanics and design courses. He also conducts research in the areas of creative design, machine design, fluid power control, and engineering education.

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Michael George Student- California Polytechnic State University

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Michael George is currently a 4th year student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. His interests include mechanical systems design, control systems, and mechatronics. Michael's dad is a residential contractor who got him interested in building and creating things. Because of this, Michael became interested in engineering during high school when researching careers that would allowed him to be a makers and inventor.

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Benjamin Kevin Kraw California Polytechnic State University: San Luis Obispo, Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Student

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Benjamin Kraw is a senior level Mechanical Engineering student with a Concentration in Mechatronics. Benjamin has always been interested in the human body, and the way that the mind perceives and understands the world. He feels incredibly fulfilled when given the opportunity to help someone learn and to see the epiphany moment in their eyes. He has studied for twelve years in the martial art of Isshinryu Karate and has achieved rank of blackbelt. His interests also include wrenching on automotives, exploring the outdoors, building, welding, machining, and tinkering in the shop.

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Lindsey Chase California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Lindsey Chase is an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo concentrating in Mechatronics. Since January 2015, Lindsey has been working under Dr. Brian Self and Dr. Jim Widmann studying the impact of Inquiry Based Learning Activities on undergraduate engineering students.

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Abstract

This research paper describes the study of videotaped students using a think-aloud protocol as they engage in an inquiry based learning activity in engineering dynamics. Decades of research have shown that experts possess a hierarchical structure of contextualized knowledge organized around principles. This prevents them from focusing on superficial aspects of a problem and allows them to determine relevant information and basic principles, which are the basis for strong conceptual understanding. Unfortunately, such knowledge organization is traditionally acquired tacitly through practice and is rarely emphasized explicitly in engineering courses, which are usually more focused on procedural skills for problem solving. During traditional lecturing, it can be hard for the instructors to gauge how students integrate their newly acquired knowledge with their existing knowledge since the instructors who are experts in the field might have difficulty realizing what concepts are difficult for students and why. Inquiry-based learning activities (IBLAs) help students to strengthen the connections between concepts and help them to build contextualized knowledge. With IBLAs, the focus is on conceptual understanding through the integration of hands-on activities in a cycle of predictions, observations, and explanations. Incorrect predictions create cognitive conflict which must be reconciled with the authority provided by the physical world. This requires the students to provide qualitative explanations based on concepts and principles to support their physical observations.

In this paper, we continue our investigation of IBLAs used in undergraduate dynamics by focusing on basic concepts in rolling kinetics. An exploratory study was pursued on a small sample of undergraduate students taking a course in dynamics. Each student participated individually in an IBLA that examined the relationship between forces and the direction of motion of a rolling object. The students drew diagrams and provided qualitative explanations of their reasoning. The responses were coded to highlight important dynamics concepts. The learning objectives of the IBLA were to help students understand that 1) the direction of acceleration of the mass center is in the same direction as the sum of the forces; 2) the direction of angular acceleration is the same as the direction of the sum of the moments about the mass center, 3) the directions of angular and linear accelerations must be compatible according to rolling kinematics, and 4) that the direction of the friction force does not necessarily oppose the direction of rolling. By analyzing the detailed student explanations, it was possible to extract various misconceptions. For example, some students believed that when the spool is pulled vertically, there is no friction force acting on it. The students also seem to have problems determining the magnitude of the moment of a force and connecting the sum of moments to the direction of rolling. This work informs instruction of dynamics and physics courses and the future development of more sophisticated teaching tools to facilitate conceptual understanding.

Adam, G. C., & Self, B. P., & Widmann, J. M., & George, M., & Kraw, B. K., & Chase, L. (2016, June), Misconceptions in Rolling Dynamics: A Case Study of an Inquiry-based Learning Activity Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25726

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