From Tootsie Rolls to Broken Bones: An Innovative Approach for Active Learning in Mechanics of Materials

ABSTRACT

Active learning enhances engineering education. This paper presents rationale, curriculum supplements, and an approach to active learning that may be seamlessly incorporated into a traditional lecture-based engineering class. A framework of educational theory that structures the active learning experiences and includes consideration of learning styles and preferences is discussed. The paper presents innovative example activities for courses in engineering mechanics designed to meet a variety of student needs and diverse learning styles. In total, 28 activities were developed and range from quick hands-on activities which can be done during lecture to multimedia tools. Activities were targeted at the difficult concepts for mechanics of materials. Typical assessment results, from three institutions of higher learning, are provided to illustrate the effectiveness of these activities. Results show that the Active Learning Products (ALPs) increase student learning as compared to a traditional lecture. ALPs are also effective at various types of institutions of higher learning.

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JULIE LINSEY
Texas A&M University

AUSTIN TALLEY
University of Texas at Austin

CHRISTINA WHITE
Columbia University

DAN JENSEN
United States Air Force Academy

KRISTIN WOOD
University of Texas at Austin

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