Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
The Statics Modeling Kit is a low cost and flexible modeling system designed to support active learning in engineering statics. The kit consists of a physical model representative of a three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system constructed from plastic pegboard panels along with a collection of components that students use to build, manipulate and analyze models of textbook-style homework problems. Student groups use the kit to explore statics concepts through a series of exercises that connect typical mechanics analysis tasks such as sketching free-body diagrams, mathematical manipulations in vector notation, and numeric computations to physical representations that students can explore to develop their conceptual knowledge. The pedagogy underlying these activities applies the theory of representational competence to provide learning experiences that target conceptual understanding within a problem-solving context. The design of the kit renders most dimensions and select force types readily apparent by inspection, allowing students to focus their time and mental effort on interpretation, application of relevant statics concepts, and analysis. Modeling activities in this flipped classroom implementation support the majority of statics topics including vector operations, concurrent force systems, moments, equivalent systems, support models, rigid-body equilibrium, and friction, all with an emphasis on three-dimensional geometries.
Student feedback on the modeling exercises indicates that the models and associated curriculum provide an engaging context for group discussion and problem solving. Students report their experience with the physical models as supportive of skill development in visualizing vectors, understanding vector notation, and interpreting three-dimensional geometry information communicated by traditional textbook-style problem figures. Many students cite the modeling activities as key to developing their understanding of fundamental statics concepts such as free-body diagrams, moments and support models. Small increases in class time allocation and completion incentives over two successive terms that further leveraged the modeling curriculum as part of the overall course design resulted in significant increases in student survey responses regarding the effectiveness of the activities. Classroom sessions that feature the modeling kit feature lively discussion within student groups and provide numerous teachable moments for the instructor to use a model to demonstrate and explain a key concept or nuance to small groups of students.
Davishahl, E., & Pearce, R., & Haskell, T. R., & Clarks, K. J. (2018, June), Statics Modeling Kit: Hands-On Learning in the Flipped Classroom Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30983
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