June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.1323.1 - 15.1323.7
Using fill-in worksheets in mechanics classes
A decade ago, classroom instruction was limited to the use of blackboard to lecture and solve problems in most institutions for many engineering courses across the USA and the world. The technique adopted was called the “no-note” method1. As described by Pytel, the “no-note” method on information transmittal, the instructor prepares his lectures notes for his own personal use and then uses this to lecture, discuss and write on the board. While many of the baby-boomer generations learned most of their engineering by this modality along with self-study, which included solving several problems from many textbook, present day students are exposed to a very different set of learning experiences and generally are a very different set of learners. They generally operate on an optimization principle based on "minimize effort for maximum grade", which includes solving least number of problems. (typically assigned homework) From personal observations and discussions with K-12 teachers in neighboring school districts in Pennsylvania, (Exeter Township, Muhlenberg, Lower Merion, Reading, Wyomissing) it is evident that there is an increased use of handouts, workbooks and worksheets in grade school education, which could be categorized as “all-note”1 method OR a minor variation of “Teaching-Note” 1. These implements are used for both in class learning and for homework assignments. As described by Pytel, in the “all-note” method, the instructor discusses his lecture notes after providing them in their entirety to the students for the class period and the “teaching note” lies somewhere between the no-note and all-note approach. From the previous conversation with grade school faculty, it is also apparent that for in-class assigned problems and some of the homework assessment, the teachers read out the answers and generally the students verify their own work or in some cases exchange papers and corrects the answers. Even though the teachers insists and requires that steps and work be clearly and neatly shown, most students do the work in any convenient manner and just make sure they obtain the answers, because finally answers are being checked and graded.
It is a common understanding that problem solving skills are one of the major components of engineering learnt in introductory mechanics courses. Hake2 has shown that interactive engagement increases the conceptual understanding and problem solving ability of students in a mechanics course. Cooperative learning3, 4, and peer instruction5 have shown to be beneficial in classrooms and in the enhancement of student learning and engagement. Using ideas and concepts from previous work listed here, the author undertook a redesign of his mechanics classes (statics and strength of materials) to include interactive engagement, cooperative learning and peer instruction. The idea of “teaching-notes”1 was modernized by the faculty’s use of current technology consisting of a media projector and a tablet-pc with ink technology. Digital ink-technology is the term used for writing on a tablet-pc screen using free hand writing. The students in the class did not use tablet-pc.
Nathan, R. (2010, June), Using Fill In Worksheets In Mechanics Classes Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16898
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