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WIP: Implementation of a Dynamics Concept Inventory – Before and After a Dynamics Class

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Concept Inventories in Mechanics

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Julian Ly Davis University of Southern Indiana

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Jul received his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech in Engineering Mechanics in 2007. He spent a semester teaching at community college in the area and then spent two years at University of Massachusetts expanding his research in finite element modeling and bio-mechanics and continuing to teach. He has been at the University of Southern Indiana since 2010 where he enjoys teaching finite element modeling, vibrations, modeling dynamic systems, dynamics and other mechanics classes.

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Sara L. Arena Virginia Tech

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Sara L. Arena is a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics (BEAM) at Virginia Tech (VT), where she has been teaching since 2017. Prior to this position, Sara was an Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at High Point University (2013-2017). The BEAM Department at Virginia Tech offers two undergraduate programs: (1) Engineering Science and Mechanics and (2) Biomedical Engineering. Sara teaches foundational courses and upper-level technical electives in biomechanics of human movement for both programs. In her current role, Sara has developed an interest in scholarship of teaching and learning, specifically related to the use of groups towards improving student achievement and attainment of learning outcomes. This includes cooperative, collaborative learning, and problem-based learning in foundational courses within both programs. Sara also continues to be active in research related to biomechanics of human movement.

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Concept inventories are prevalent in Physics and Statics classes but not many have been implemented in Dynamics. Expanding on the success of Force Concept inventories used in Physics, one dynamics concept inventory (DCI) has been identified and was used in a traditional planar rigid body Dynamics class. The DCI test contains questions regarding different dynamics concepts using a 29-question multiple choice test. The DCI was implemented before and after a Dynamics course at a four-year, medium size, primarily residential public institution. The objective is to begin to identify concepts which students have trouble with and how progressing through a dynamics course may affect the student’s understanding. This paper contains the results and analysis from two classes’ responses to the DCI test. Initial results of the exam indicate students do not have a good “feel” for dynamics before entering the course. The average score on the exam was a 26% and 22% in each year respectively. Interestingly consistent between the two classes are the inability to correctly identify the instantaneous velocity profile of a rotating object (less than 5% of students answered correctly), and a location of the minimum velocity of a tire driving a vehicle’s motion ( less than 5% of students answered correctly). In addition, consistent between the two classes are a strength in particle motion questions ( more than 60% of the students answered correctly) and rigid body energy questions (more than 60% of the students answered correctly). Comparing results from the pre- and post-course tests, there was not much improvement in these areas of low comprehension – which is what we would hope for after implementing a course on the topic. In fact – there are large decreases in areas of at which students initially showed strength in the pre-course DCI test. In the following paper we will discuss the results of the full set of data (pre- and post-course DCI exams from two different semesters). As we move forward, we will be interested to include results from a large public institution for comparison.

Davis, J. L., & Arena, S. L. (2020, June), WIP: Implementation of a Dynamics Concept Inventory – Before and After a Dynamics Class Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35544

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