Enhancing Engineering Mechanics - Statics Instruction Using Manipulative Truss Models
43rd Annual Frontiers in Education Conference
Oklahoma City, OK
Enhancing a student's ability to mentally visualize and intuitively assess foundational concepts in engineering mechanics - statics can create a significant advantage for students in their pre-professional engineering courses. Concepts such as forces and moments often prove to be challenging for students lacking hands-on mechanical experience or those who are visual and kinesthetic learners. Showing students these “intangible” mechanics principles is not an easy task and usually requires proactive measures to improve learning. In an effort to improve visualization and tactile learning in a college mechanics - statics course, hands-on and visual truss models were developed based on the concept of physical manipulatives. Mathematics instructors use manipulative models to help students identify different mathematical concepts. These models not only allow the students to see and feel different objects but also to manipulate the objects to form a concrete representation of the concept. Furthermore, manipulative models help students visualize, feel, and analyze the behavior of the material being manipulated. This study examines the relationship between the use of a physical model of a truss and the students' framing of information during task interpretation to successfully attain conceptual understanding about truss analysis.
Mejia, J.A., Goodridge, W. H., and Green, C. (2013). Enhancing Engineering Mechanics - Statics Instruction Using Manipulative Truss Models. 43rd Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, Oklahoma City, OK. 10.1109/fie2013.6684849