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Experiences with Inquiry-Based
Learning in an Introductory
Mechanics Course
Devin R. Berg
Engineering & Technology Department
University of Wisconsin – Stout
18 October 2013

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
How do I relate the stuff in class to my
everyday life?

http://www.ux1.eiu.edu/~cfadd/1350/12Statics/ToC.html

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
Inquiry-based learning enables greater
concept retention.

http://www.uvm.edu/~slathem/inquiry/inquiry21st.htm

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
Ask them to do this directly!

http://www.trilliumdell.com/timber-frame-trusses-and-accents.html

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
An Initial Pilot Study
The goal of this study was to establish a baseline
for student participation in an inquiry-based
assignment.

The observations made here would then inform
future efforts in this direction.

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
Basic instructions were given as a
guide but were open to interpretation.
Find an example of an object that demonstrates particle or rigid body equilibrium
around campus. Capture a photograph of it. Write a one paragraph explanation of
the photograph that includes at least an explanation of how many forces are acting
on the object, whether you would need to perform 2D or 3D analysis of the object,
and where you took the photograph.

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
77% of submissions were “planar” and
most had simple loading scenarios.

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
23% presented a more interesting
example of static equilibrium.

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
3D submission were of higher quality
when assessed for accuracy.

1

1

2

2

3

3

4

4

52% of planar submissions scored 3 or 4

89% of 3D submissions scored 3 or 4

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
Several students constructed a system
under equilibrium to analyze.
I determined that the center of mass of the book was
hanging over the edge of the desk, and because gravity
is creating a downward force the book should tilt and
fall. There is also a moment balance, at the point where
the edge of the desk and book meet. The moment is the
force being applied in the downward direction (weight of
the book) multiplied by the distance it is from the focal
point. There was a second force that provided enough
force to keep the body in equilibrium. This second force
was the jar of pencils. The jar had a downward force on
the book, however, had enough force to in the negative
direction overcome the reaction on the book to keep it
from tilting and falling. It was sufficient enough to
analyze this object in 2D.

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
Further, several used annotation to
enhance their analysis.

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
The submissions collected support
further use of this form of assignment.
Students: - enjoyed the assignment
- required a different way of thinking
Instructor: - helpful when gaging student
understanding
- more engaging discussion

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
Currently using this form of
assignment on weekly basis.
Students have started to tell me about things
they saw that relate to what they have learned.
Some have even begun collecting evidence of
different examples before being assigned to do
so.

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
Acknowledgements
The author would like to thank the UW-Stout
students in the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013
semester sections of MECH 290 and MECH 293
for their photographic and textual contributions.

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
Thank you for your time!

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT
Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/

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Experiences with Inquiry-Based Learning in an Introductory Mechanics Course

  • 1. Experiences with Inquiry-Based Learning in an Introductory Mechanics Course Devin R. Berg Engineering & Technology Department University of Wisconsin – Stout 18 October 2013 ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
  • 2. How do I relate the stuff in class to my everyday life? http://www.ux1.eiu.edu/~cfadd/1350/12Statics/ToC.html ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
  • 3. Inquiry-based learning enables greater concept retention. http://www.uvm.edu/~slathem/inquiry/inquiry21st.htm ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
  • 4. Ask them to do this directly! http://www.trilliumdell.com/timber-frame-trusses-and-accents.html ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
  • 5. An Initial Pilot Study The goal of this study was to establish a baseline for student participation in an inquiry-based assignment. The observations made here would then inform future efforts in this direction. ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
  • 6. Basic instructions were given as a guide but were open to interpretation. Find an example of an object that demonstrates particle or rigid body equilibrium around campus. Capture a photograph of it. Write a one paragraph explanation of the photograph that includes at least an explanation of how many forces are acting on the object, whether you would need to perform 2D or 3D analysis of the object, and where you took the photograph. ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
  • 7. 77% of submissions were “planar” and most had simple loading scenarios. ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
  • 8. 23% presented a more interesting example of static equilibrium. ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
  • 9. 3D submission were of higher quality when assessed for accuracy. 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 52% of planar submissions scored 3 or 4 89% of 3D submissions scored 3 or 4 ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
  • 10. Several students constructed a system under equilibrium to analyze. I determined that the center of mass of the book was hanging over the edge of the desk, and because gravity is creating a downward force the book should tilt and fall. There is also a moment balance, at the point where the edge of the desk and book meet. The moment is the force being applied in the downward direction (weight of the book) multiplied by the distance it is from the focal point. There was a second force that provided enough force to keep the body in equilibrium. This second force was the jar of pencils. The jar had a downward force on the book, however, had enough force to in the negative direction overcome the reaction on the book to keep it from tilting and falling. It was sufficient enough to analyze this object in 2D. ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
  • 11. Further, several used annotation to enhance their analysis. ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
  • 12. The submissions collected support further use of this form of assignment. Students: - enjoyed the assignment - required a different way of thinking Instructor: - helpful when gaging student understanding - more engaging discussion ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
  • 13. Currently using this form of assignment on weekly basis. Students have started to tell me about things they saw that relate to what they have learned. Some have even begun collecting evidence of different examples before being assigned to do so. ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
  • 14. Acknowledgements The author would like to thank the UW-Stout students in the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 semester sections of MECH 290 and MECH 293 for their photographic and textual contributions. ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/
  • 15. Thank you for your time! ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT Inspiring Innovation Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/et/