New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
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
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: © 2016 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