Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering
A three-model framework provides a foundation and context for developing engineering analysis skills. The three models are 1) reality, 2) mental models, and 3) engineering and math models. A diagram of these models supports the engineering problem solving format (Given, Find, Procedure, Solution, Answer) and illustrates the interaction between engineering application (reality), engineering judgement (mental model), and scientific theory (engineering/math model). Engineers work with each of these models as they develop their understanding of a concept or solve a particular problem. Reality is the way the world actually works; in general, reality tends to be complex. The engineer works to shape reality, and therefore, must be a student of reality, learning how the world works through thoughtful observation. As engineers consider reality, they build mental models of how the world works. The mental model is qualitative and often intuitive. The mental model is the single greatest asset an engineer has; in the qualitative and intuitive world of the mind creativity flourishes. An engineer who wishes to communicate or refine a mental model will draw sketches or diagrams. The mental model should lead to the proper selection of an engineering/math model. Engineering/math models are often the primary focus of the formal classroom. These models are quantitative and lead to numerical predictions of various outcomes. However, engineering/math models, by nature, require simplification; the mental model must make and check the assumptions required to build a solvable engineering/math model. The engineering/math model is usually expressed using logic and mathematics; often computers facilitate numerical predictions. Active integration of the mental model and engineering/math model equips the engineer to properly shape reality.
Wood, T. A. (2020, June), Three Models and Engineering Analysis Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35387
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: © 2020 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