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Move It Learning Modules For Dynamic Systems

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Teaching Dynamics

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.891.1 - 15.891.10



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Paper Authors

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Benson Tongue University of California, Berkeley

author page

Daniel Kawano University of California, Berkeley

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



MoveIt contains structured dynamics and vibrations modules that are designed to imbue in students an enhanced ability to look at real life situations, derive mathematical models, animate their simulations, and then compare the results with the original systems. The goal is to strengthen the linkage between analysis and design/modeling and in so doing strengthen the students’ abilities to function as engineers.

The particular modules have all been class tested in the lead author’s classes and have been modified over several years so as to be challenging and yet not so difficult as to be off-putting. By combining visualization and analysis, students from both camps (visual and written learners) have shown success at tackling the various exercises.

The modules can be used in a variety of class levels, with goals appropriately shaped to reflect the course user groups.

Introduction The first author has observed over time that students in his class have recently exhibited a tendency to be more focused on analytics and to have a relatively poor skill set with regard to physical intuition. This fact has been widely observed by others and is clearly due to the changing nature of our technological world. Cars that are computer controlled are not ones that lend themselves to “tinkering.” Likewise, the microelectronics that runs through most all modern technological artifacts present our nascent engineers with little of the opportunity for hands-on learning that so typified the pre-college experience of their counterparts in years past.

On the other hand, students are very comfortable with videos and, hopefully, reasonably well oriented toward simulation/animation software. Their inclinations can be used [1], in a properly designed course, to enhance learning [2], [3], [4].

What the authors have tried to do is add a new component to what have traditionally been pure analysis courses as a way of addressing this need, and MoveIt is the result of these efforts. MoveIt is made up of a collection of separate modules, and each module focuses on a particular engineering system which has been chosen to have a direct connection with the students. For example, one of the problems used in the vibrations folder is that of an electric mixer, such as would be found in a typical kitchen. The presumption is that students have some knowledge about the system and the familiarity will reduce any pre-conceived tensions about working on the project. The systems used are also ones that lend themselves to generalization. Thus the problem at hand can be tailored by the instructor to be relatively quick and easy or can be made sufficiently deep as to require some weeks of work. The entire structure is web accessible, an avenue of learning that has seen continual growth [5] that is unlikely to diminish any time soon.

The authors increase student motivation to tackle these modules by letting the students know that key concepts from the modules will find their way into the course quizzes. Thus, in addition

Tongue, B., & Kawano, D. (2010, June), Move It Learning Modules For Dynamic Systems Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15866

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