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Work-in-Progress: Computer Simulations to Deliver Inquiry-Based Laboratory Activities in Mechanics

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Engaging the Online Classroom

Tagged Division

Mechanics

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38214

Download Count

16

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Paper Authors

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Jacob Matthew Cook Oregon State University

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Jacob Cook received his Honors B.S. in Bioengineering and his Honors B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Oregon State University in Spring 2020. During his undergraduate studies he was a researcher and software developer for the Koretsky Education group, focusing on web-based JavaScript physics simulations. His primary research interests include engineering education, biomedical devices/instrumentation, integrated circuit design, computational modeling, and data science. Jacob Cook is a currently an M.S. student in the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Oregon State University under the Sensors and Integrated Microelectronics (SIMs) Lab.

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Thomas W. Ekstedt Oregon State University

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Thomas Ekstedt is a software developer in the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University. He is involved in the development of technology-based educational systems, particularly in the areas of concept-based instruction and interactive simulation of physical phenomena.

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Brian P. Self California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Brian Self obtained his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech, and his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Utah. He worked in the Air Force Research Laboratories before teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy for seven years. Brian has taught in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo since 2006. During the 2011-2012 academic year he participated in a professor exchange, teaching at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. His engineering education interests include collaborating on the Dynamics Concept Inventory, developing model-eliciting activities in mechanical engineering courses, inquiry-based learning in mechanics, and design projects to help promote adapted physical activities. Other professional interests include aviation physiology and biomechanics.

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Milo Koretsky Tufts University

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Milo Koretsky is the McDonnell Family Bridge Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and in the Department of Education at Tufts University. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC San Diego and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, all in Chemical Engineering. He currently has research activity in areas related engineering education and is interested in integrating technology into effective educational practices and in promoting the use of higher-level cognitive skills in engineering problem solving. His research interests particularly focus on what prevents students from being able to integrate and extend the knowledge developed in specific courses in the core curriculum to the more complex, authentic problems and projects they face as professionals.

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Abstract

Our previous work demonstrated that the use of inquiry-based laboratory activities (IBLAs) have helped students develop better understanding of core concepts in mechanics. IBLAs are constructed around brief hands-on-experiments designed so that students can confront common misconceptions. In a predict-observe-explain sequence, these activities prompt students to make sense of a phenomenon as they work collaboratively through a guided worksheet. However, these physical experiments present logistical challenges for many instructors, such as those who teach large classes or those confined to remote instruction due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

In this work-in-progress paper, we describe the development of computer simulations for a set of IBLAs in mechanics. These web-based virtual IBLAs contain simulations built with an open-source JavaScript physics engine that has been customized to achieve the accuracy needed. They afford the same pedagogical structure but allow students to observe the salient phenomena on a computer screen, reducing the constraints and limitations for an instructor to deliver them. Students can rapidly adjust input parameters, render the physics engine in slow-motion speeds, and graph real-time parameters from the simulation.

Free access to the IBLAs, including simulations, handouts and instructions is available to instructors through the Concept Warehouse. In this we report how we rendered a set of proven IBLAs, including the Spool IBLA, Rolling Cylinders IBLA and Pendulum IBLA into a virtual laboratory environment. We describe student responses to different renderings including video only, simulation only, and combined video and simulation.

Cook, J. M., & Ekstedt, T. W., & Self, B. P., & Koretsky, M. (2021, July), Work-in-Progress: Computer Simulations to Deliver Inquiry-Based Laboratory Activities in Mechanics Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38214

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