New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Biomechanics is a growing field spanning, for example, mechanical, biomedical, and materials engineering, as well as physical therapy, and kinesiology. The field is inherently interdisciplinary to an extent that may not be well emphasized in K12 science programs. In an effort to understand the preparation of late primary – secondary school students in areas related to biomechanics, we conducted pre- and post- surveys of school groups planning to attend a biannual engineering outreach event at the (University Name). Specifically, we sought to evaluate the educational and inspirational impact of interactive biomechanics-related activities provided for attendees. These activities included measuring jump height with a Microsoft Kinect, power output on a stationary bicycle, center of pressure movement on a Wii balance board, and balance while walking in a virtual hallway. For this project, we conducted surveys of three school groups representing a total of 57 students from fifth through eighth grades. There were three types of questions included in the survey – those that assessed biomechanical concepts, interest in the field, and application to related professions. Prior to attending the event, most students answered the conceptual questions correctly and interest in engineering and biomechanics was neutral. Students’ opinion of the applicability of biomechanics to various professions was strongly divided in most cases with some students believing biomechanics to be very important and a similar number deeming it irrelevant. Following the event, students generally provided significantly (p < 0.05, t-tests) different answers to conceptual questions that were directly tied to an activity. At the same time, students’ answers to concept questions that were indirectly tied to an activity did not change. Pooled together, the students tended to be more interested in engineering after the event (p = 0.11) but showed no change in their interest in biomechanics (p = 0.6). However one school group of 5th through 8th graders showed a non-significant increase (p = 0.08) in biomechanics interest, while a group of 5th graders showed a non-significant decrease (p = 0.14) in biomechanics interest. Responses to careers related to biomechanics suggest that interactive biomechanics activities should emphasize these connections.
Francis, C. A., & Lenhart, R. L., & Franz, J. R., & Kaiser, J., & Towles, J. (2016, June), Work in Progress: Evaluation of Biomechanics Activities at a College-Wide Engineering Outreach Event Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27224
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