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In physics classes, the pedagogical implementation of activities based on real life problems has been proved fundamental in the knowledge acquisition from behalf of the students. As many generations before them, today’s students have a very significant restlessness related to the practical application of their knowledge. Being able to relate classroom contents with their professional, or even day-to-day lives, can never be underestimated in the students' learning, but this doesn’t mean it is any less of a challenge for teachers. It is important to understand the relation between practical knowledge and the intrinsic motivation in the students. A student that understands that his learning goes beyond a single class (or a single topic) and that has a better understanding of the practical applications is going to be motivated and therefore, more willing to learn new concepts. The authors have designed and implemented an activity in which they present a simplified version of a stay-cable bridge. The physics students would create a pre-design of the structural elements based on their knowledge of Newton's First Law of Movement viewed in class and compare their results with a structural model in a software. The activity is similar to the exercises that Civil Engineer students face in their studies. The objective is to show them how the book-based problems seen in physics (or even in math) are just the first step they have to take in order to understand a much larger amount of concepts once they’ve reached a college level of physics or even in their future jobs as engineers. In this paper, the authors are going to present a qualitative investigation of the student’s perception of the real-life activity. The objective of this research is to find out if this activity has had an impact on the student’s ability to see the bigger picture of their studies and, by consequence, increase their motivation to study the topic. This investigation will be based on high school students, specifically 12th grade. These students are a year away from entering college and choosing their career path, so the understanding of the purpose of their current high school studies is highly relevant.
Hernandez-Sanchez, M., & Macias-Gonzalez, S., & Iturbe-Sanchez, E., & BarragÁN-Cruz, A., & Hernandez Carrasco, L. (2022, August), PHYSICS APPLICATIONS: THEIR IMPACT ON STUDENTS’ MOTIVATION AND PERSPECTIVE OF STEM Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://strategy.asee.org/40623
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