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Using Lego Based Engineering Activities To Improve Understanding Concepts Of Speed, Velocity, And Acceleration

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Technology in the Physics or Engineering Physics C

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

13.1343.1 - 13.1343.14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/3928

Download Count

38

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Paper Authors

biography

Nataliia Perova Tufts University

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Natasha is currently a graduate students at Tufts University majoring in Mathematics, Science, Technology and Engineering education. She previously earned her M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University in 2005 and B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Suffolk University. Natasha is currently a research assistant at the Center for Engineering Outreach where she is involved in using engineering approaches to teach high school students science and mathematics.

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biography

Walter H. Johnson Suffolk University

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Walter got his PhD and M.S. from Harvard University and B.S. from Rice University. He is a Chairman of Physics Department at Suffolk University. His research interests include neural networks, wireless motes, and ellipsometry. He has a strong commitment to teaching and integrating innovative technology to better reach his students, from streaming video and electronic writing tables for distance learning to using wireless mesh-networking devices in undergraduate research projects. His academic awards include C.W. Heaps Prize in Physics and Phi Beta Kappa from Rice University, Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Harvard University, and Carnegie Foundation Massachusetts Professor of the Year in 2005.

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Chris Rogers Tufts University

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Chris got his PhD, M.S. and B.S. at Stanford University. He is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Tufts University and Director of the Center for Engineering Outreach. His research interests include: particle-laden flows, telerobotics and controls, slurry flows in chemical-mechanical planarization, the engineering of musical instruments, measuring flame shapes of couch fires, and in elementary school engineering education. He has a strong commitment to teaching and was awarded the Carnegie Professor of the Year in Massachusetts in 1998. He has worked with LEGO to develop ROBOLAB, a robotic approach to learning science and math.

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

Using LEGO-based Engineering Activities to Improve Understanding Concepts of Speed, Velocity and Acceleration Abstract

Analysis of the educational research both theoretical and experimental indicates that traditional teaching methods are not very effective in helping students to understand science concepts and transfer the principles learned in the classroom to other situations. Innovative interventions are needed to supplement science curriculum and to improve students’ comprehension through active engagement in the learning process. We developed several LEGO-based activities to be implemented in the secondary schools and first year college science curriculum. LEGO and ROBOLAB are an effective set of tools for learning physics with this hands-on approach. We conducted a pilot study to test the effectiveness of usage of LEGO models to teach the concepts of motion. This work will present the results of quantitative and qualitative analysis of the impact of this instructional module on students understanding of concepts of speed, velocity, acceleration and projectile motion. The outcome will also be correlated with results of analysis of students’ engagement and motivation.

Introduction

The content for introductory physics courses includes Motion, Forces, Energy, Waves, and Electromagnetism. Students can explore and build understanding of these concepts through designing and conducting experiments based on the physics principles through inquiry, collaboration and hands-on learning. We developed several LEGO-based activities to be implemented in the secondary schools and first year college science curriculum. LEGO and ROBOLAB are an effective set of tools for learning physics with this hands-on approach. LEGO bricks, wheels, and other parts make it possible for students to make their own simple experimental apparatus, and LEGO robotics microprocessor (RCX) and associated sensors, together with the ROBOLAB software, create an environment for data collection and analysis. We have found that the LEGO workbench provides enough flexibility that the students can be creative in their engineering solutions, yet advanced enough that they can get quantitative data from their experiments.

We conducted a pilot study to test the effectiveness of using LEGO models to teach the concepts of motion, velocity, and acceleration on the example of projectile motion. We developed survey instruments to assess the effect of this instructional approach. This module is part of the educational design experiment that we are testing and revising based upon the research results of the initial study. In previous work, we analyzed the effect of this educational module on students’ engagement in the learning process.25 This work will present the results of quantitative analysis of the impact of this instructional module on students understanding of concepts of speed, velocity, acceleration and projectile motion. The outcome will also be correlated with results of analysis of students’ engagement and motivation discussed in the earlier work.

Literature Review

Perova, N., & Johnson, W. H., & Rogers, C. (2008, June), Using Lego Based Engineering Activities To Improve Understanding Concepts Of Speed, Velocity, And Acceleration Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3928

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