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Work in Progress: Brainstorming with Yo-Yos in High School Outreach: Inspiring Students’ Interest in Learning Physics

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

K-12 and Pre-College Engineering Poster Session

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1381.1 - 23.1381.9



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Paper Authors


Ning Fang Utah State University

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Ning Fang is an associate professor in the College of Engineering at Utah State University. He has taught a variety of engineering courses such as engineering dynamics, metal machining, and design for manufacturing. His areas of interest include computer-assisted instructional technology, curricular reform in engineering education, the modeling and optimization of manufacturing processes, and lean product
design. He earned his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and is the author of more than 60 technical papers published in refereed international journals and conference proceedings. He is a senior member of the Society for Manufacturing Engineering and a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He is also a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and a member of the American Educational Research Association.

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Works in Progress: Using Yo-Yo Games to Enhance Student Understanding of Physics Concepts in High School OutreachAbstractThis paper is submitted for the “works in progress” poster session of the K-12 and PrecollegeEngineering Division.Learning science with toys has received increasing applications in K-12 education in a variety offormal and informal educational settings inside and outside the classroom. Extensive researchevidence has revealed that students can develop and reinforce their understanding of fundamentalscience concepts through hands-on, active learning with toys. Educational toys and associatedgames also add excitements to the process of learning, especially for K-12 children, and inspireand promote their interest in learning science and engineering. Representative examples of thetoys and games that are used as a learning tool for various educational purposes include Lego,yo-yo’s, wooden construction cars, toy electronic cars, leapfrogs, card games, video games, toname a few.The College of Engineering at the author’s institution has a high school outreach program andorganizes an annual event called “Engineering State” in each summer. In this event, high schoolstudents across the state are invited to the campus to visit each engineering department andlaboratories to learn about engineering. As one of integral parts of this event, “Phun” withPhysics sessions are held for the visiting students to help them understand physics concepts in aunique “yo-yo game” way outside their regular classroom. Each student is provided with a yo-yo to play with. Students are divided into groups with five to six students in each group. Eachgroup is asked to come up with physics concepts that are associated with yo-yo games. Thegroup that comes up with the largest number of physics concepts is chosen as the winner of theyo-yo game competition. At the end of the session, students are asked to respond to ananonymous survey concerning their experiences with yo-yo games.This Works in Progress study reports the preliminary results of four “Phun” with Physicssessions that the author of this paper designed for the “Engineering State” event. The researchquestion was: What were students’ experiences with the yo-yo games that were designed to helpthem understand physics concepts? A total of 83 high school students attended these sessionswith approximately 20 students (four groups) in each session. Each session lasted one and a halfhours. Many student groups came up with more than 20 physics concepts associated with yo-yo.The survey results showed that students had positive experiences with the yo-yo games. Thewords/phrases frequently used by the students included “fun,” “play,” hands on,” and “real life.”Representative student comments were: “It made me think about physics for the first time sincesummer begins,” “It was my first exposure to physics and it made me really understand,” “I likedthe yo-yo’s. They are more hands on, so I was able to test and see concepts I learned fromschool,” “It broadened our understanding of what things are considered concepts,” “I liked howmuch interaction there was with the yo-yo’s,” “This session get me very excited about takingphysics next year.”

Fang, N. (2013, June), Work in Progress: Brainstorming with Yo-Yos in High School Outreach: Inspiring Students’ Interest in Learning Physics Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22766

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