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Strategy, Task Performance, and Behavioral Themes from Students Solving 2-D and 3-D Force Equilibrium Problems

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Student Approaches to Problem Solving: ERM Roundtable

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1405.1 - 26.1405.15



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Paper Authors


Benjamin James Call Utah State University

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Benjamin Call graduated with his Masters of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering (Aerospace Emphasis) in 2006 from Utah State University. After working nearly eight years for NAVAIR, he has returned to pursue at PhD in Engineering Education at Utah State University where he received the Presidential Doctoral Research Fellowship to support his studies. His research interests range from sophomore-level engineering curricula to project-based teamwork and encouraging student entrepreneurship.

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Wade H. Goodridge Utah State University

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Wade Goodridge, Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering and Technology Education at Utah State University, has taught Solid Modeling, CAD, Introductory Electronics, Surveying, Statics, Assessment and Evaluation, and Introductory Engineering courses at Utah State University. Goodridge has been teaching for the Utah State College of Engineering for more than 15 years. He holds dual B.S degrees in industrial technology education and civil engineering from Utah State University, as well as an M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering from Utah State University. His research interests include metacognitive processes and strategies involved in engineering design using solid modeling, spatial thinking, and conceptual and procedural knowledge interplay in novice engineering students.

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Christopher Green Utah State University

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Christopher Green is a senior in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering program, with an Aerospace Emphasis and a minor in Computer Science. He plans to finish his undergrad in Dec. 2015, and continue to earn his MS in Aerospace Engineering and Ph.D. in Engineering Education. In addition to school, he researches common misconceptions students struggle with in engineering and develops ways to overcome them. After graduation, his career goals include working in the industry of unmanned aerial vehicles and improving training processes within engineering companies. His hobbies include ballroom dance, violin, board games, and outdoors. Additionally, he enjoys teaching others, especially engineering, math, and dance. He was raised in Highland, UT as the fourth of six children and values a close relationship with family.

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2-D and 3-D Deconstruction Strategies, Solutions and Misconceptions in Introductory Statics ProblemsSophomore engineering students’ cognitive abilities, skills, and experiences represent the nativelevel of knowledge for students endeavoring to learn Statics. Within this stage of students’academic careers, initial engineering courses are being taken and the foundations for futureengineering work is being laid. The Engineering Statics course – the first class in the engineeringmechanics series and one of the first engineering courses offered to many engineering students –presents a prime environment to understand fundamental issues regarding students strategies andmisconceptions in a problem solving process. Gaining an understanding of these students’approaches to Statics problems, and the possible accompanying misconceptions, is motivated bytheir direct correlation and impacts on future engineering coursework and success.This study aims to discover cognitive strategies and misconceptions exhibited by engineeringstudents as they are introduced to 2-D and 3-D equilibrium concepts. Qualitative initial, axial,and selective coding methods, following a constant comparative analysis technique imbedded ingrounded theory, will be used to analyze the responses of students as they solve 2-D and 3-Dequilibrium problems recorded through a transcripted Talk Aloud protocol. An expanded pilotstudy – where the initial group of students solved traditional equilibrium problems and a follow-on group of students solved segmented equilibrium problems – will be discussed in this paper.The study aims to identify mental models for problem solving that can be used to frameinterventions, as well as areas of need where such interventions would help students solvingStatics problems. Procedural and conceptual aspects of students’ strategies and misconceptionswill be discussed individually and interactively. Results will foster future research, refine thequalitative methods applied, and direct pedagogical descriptions of the Statics problem-solvingprocess.

Call, B. J., & Goodridge, W. H., & Green, C. (2015, June), Strategy, Task Performance, and Behavioral Themes from Students Solving 2-D and 3-D Force Equilibrium Problems Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24742

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