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Aerospace Engineering

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The pedagogical literature has consistently and repeatedly shown that active learning is more effective than passive learning in teaching students fundamental engineering concepts, yet the lecture persists as the primary method of classroom organization for the vast majority of professors. Even among those professors who have read the literature and are willing to change their teaching methods, a barrier to adoption of active learning strategies is the time and effort required to develop the classroom activities for a particular course. This paper describes a series of experiments that can be done in class with low-cost equipment in an introductory circuits course. In each class period, a brief lecture at the beginning of the course went over the relative circuit theory, such as Ohm’s Law and Kirchoff’s laws. Then the instructor worked out a numerical example for a given circuit. Finally the students are instructed to build a circuit corresponding the example problem and make the necessary measurements to verify the theory. The class was divided into teams of four students each, and each team was given an equipment pack during the first week of class. The equipment packs included a budget digital multimeter (DMM), a number of resistors, a capacitor, LED, hobby-size DC motor, 9V battery, and lead wires with alligator clips for connecting the components. Students were instructed to bring the equipment packs to class every day, and they were also given homework assignments that required the use of the equipment packs. Though some breakage will occur and batteries may be accidentally discharged, the equipment packs can be re-used from year to year. Once the initial investment has been made, further upgrades with additional components can also be done in subsequent years. This paper contains a complete list of experiments that can easily be implemented by other instructors, and is also suitable for use in “flipped” classrooms.




American Society for Engineering Education


Indianapolis, IN

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Dr. Scott was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was published.