IMPROVE how faculty and students interact inside and outside of the classroom.
examples in engineering
Why is it better to teach
theory from earbuds, soap
bubbles, exploding soda cans,
racecars, and Silly Putty?
Using relevant everyday
examples to explain
engineering concepts is a
powerful way to make
IDENTIFY and remediate
students with weak
spatial visualization skills
ENGAGE focuses on three evidence-based, easily
implemented strategies to improve retention: Integrate
everyday examples in engineering into courses; identify
and remediate students with weak spatial visualization
skills; improve how faculty and students interact inside
and outside of the classroom.
Using everyday examples in engineering involves
familiar experiences that students find engaging to
illustrate concepts in fundamental engineering courses.
An example of someone who does this is Scott Kiefer,
an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at
York College of Pennsylvania. He teaches a class on the
mechanics of deformable solids. In the past, he used two
concentric metal tubes to explain basic axial stress and
deformation, and how these concepts could be used to
solve statistically indeterminate problems.
Then, one day, he walked into class with his iPod earbuds plugged into his ears. He used the iPod headphone
wire to explain the same principles. While the calculations for the earbuds and concentric tubes were the same,
students paid more attention to the iPod example. In fact,
several had broken their earbuds and wanted to know
why that had happened.
After the lecture and before his first exam, Kiefer asked
students what he could change about his lecture. Roughly
25 percent suggested adding more examples like the iPod.
"I thought this kind of example would be fun, but it was
more than that," he later said.