Asee peer logo

Project-based Learning in Dynamics: Carousel Project

Download Paper |


2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

STEM Issues

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Wei Dai Vian Purdue University, West Lafayette

visit author page

Wei Vian is a continuing lecturer in the program of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Purdue University Statewide Kokomo campus. She got her Ph.D from Purdue Polytechnic, Purdue University, West Lafayette. She got her bachelor and master degree both from Eastern Michigan University. Her research interests include grain refinement of aluminum alloys, metal casting design, and innovation in engineering technology education.

visit author page


Nancy L. Denton P.E. Purdue University, West Lafayette

visit author page

Nancy L. Denton, PE, CVA3, is a professor of MET and associate head of Purdue University's School of Engineering Technology. She spent nine years on Vibration Institute’s Board of Directors, and continues to serve on its Academic and Certification Scheme Committees. She is a Fellow and former Board member of ASEE, and a member of ASME.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Abstract Curvilinear motion analysis can be a challenging topic for beginning Dynamics students. Beyond traditionally reading the concepts and practicing problems from the textbook, a designed hands-on work project focusing on analyzing rotation may be a helpful learning supplement for students. Therefore, a carousel project has been developed and implemented in an undergraduate dynamics course in mechanical engineering technology. This article will discuss the group laboratory project learning process and results in curvilinear motion. This project is designed to not only improve students’ learning outcomes and understanding of dynamics content, but also to develop and enhance their problem solving and critical thinking skills. Students are tasked with designing and building a physical carousel model, choosing materials for the main body and supporting cables, recording data, and using their data to analyze the model’s rotational motion. To solve the assigned project questions such as finding the tension, the speed, and the power, students are expected to apply their knowledge of the equation of motions, work and energy, and the angular momentum in kinetics. Finally, this paper will also show the result of students’ surveys on this project learning experience, topic understanding as demonstrated through the project and analysis of the relative learning outcomes from the midterm and final exams, and team function.

Keywords: PBL, curvilinear motion, dynamics in MET program

Vian, W. D., & Denton, N. L. (2021, July), Project-based Learning in Dynamics: Carousel Project Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37614

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: © 2021 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