Cognitive strategies and misconceptions in introductory statics problems

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

2014 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE) Proceedings




Madrid, Spain

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Introductory engineering problems set foundational knowledge required by students. While statics is a course that is typically offered during the start of an engineering student's sophomore year, it is one of the first pre-professional engineering courses students are exposed to and is important to their persistence in engineering. An understanding of the strategies and misconceptions that students employ to solve 2-D and 3-D force problems in statics is warranted due to its ties to their success and thus persistence. This study hopes to reveal some of the strategies and misconceptions engineering students implement and encounter when introduced to 2-D and 3-D concepts in Statics. The research design will focus on a qualitative approach where participants will engage in a Talk Aloud protocol implemented during problem solving activities. Data will be collected, segmented, and coded to determine misconception themes, strategies, and procedural understanding associated with solving equilibrium problems. A pilot study focusing on the experiences of 12 participants (3 female and 9 male) will be discussed in this paper. The study aims to identify areas where interventions may be strategically instituted facilitating students' success in solving Statics problems. Results will foster future research and refine the qualitative methods that will be applicable to such research.

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