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Using Engineering Courses To Improve Pre Calculus Students' Success

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Integrating Math, Science, and Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1248.1 - 8.1248.8



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Paper Authors

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Amy Monte

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Gretchen Hein

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2365

Using Engineering Courses to Improve Pre-Calculus Students' Success

Amy E. Monte, Gretchen L. Hein

Department of Engineering Fundamentals Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI


Many engineering students are not ready to take Calculus their first semester at Michigan Tech and are unable to participate in the First Year Engineering program at that time. To prepare them for their first year experience and to enable them to take an "engineering" course during their first semester, an introductory engineering class, Engineering and Science Applications in Pre- Calculus (ENG1001) was pilot tested Spring 2001 and refined and expanded in Fall 2001 and Fall 2002. Because students are enrolled in Pre-Calculus and ENG1001 at the same time, the ENG1001 course material parallels the topics that are being covered in Pre-Calculus. In addition to coupling ENG1001 with Pre-Calculus, another objective of this course is to prepare the students to succeed in their future engineering courses. Students work in three-person teams on class assignments, lab reports, homework assignments, technical presentations and a design project. Topics are introduced that will be used and expanded upon in the first-year engineering program. Hands-on experiments are used to illustrate engineering principles and to obtain data for analysis. Students solve algebraic and trigonometric engineering equations using a spreadsheet and they receive instruction on how to logically outline and solve engineering problems using a five step method (Read, Find, Known, Solve and Check) as outlined in their Pre-Calculus text. Within one semester, these students make the transition from not knowing how to even start an engineering problem to being able to adequately communicate a solution process. This paper outlines some of the projects students completed and how students applied engineering tools and mathematical concepts to their solution. In addition, it shows how student performance was enhanced in Pre-Calculus and Calculus as well as in their subsequent engineering course.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Educations Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Monte, A., & Hein, G. (2003, June), Using Engineering Courses To Improve Pre Calculus Students' Success Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12360

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