Documentation:Learning Principles & Strategies/Case Study Engineering Science

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The Teaching Challenge

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Case Study - Engineering Science

Group Discussion Results

What may be going on for the students in this scenario?

  • Can’t connect the dots – link physics and calculus knowledge to problem
  • Can’t classify problem
  • Lack ability to see similarity to other problems
  • Lack of practice integrating component skills
  • Don’t know when to apply what they have learned
  • Lack of ability to extrapolate to new situation
  • Can’t transfer knowledge because they can’t adjust to the new task and can’t see the relationship between these two tasks

What learning principles might help us understand the problem and determine teaching approaches?

  • Knowledge organization
  • Skill integration

What teaching strategies might you suggest and why

  • Model problem solving/integrating concepts from physics and calculus
  • Ask students to identify what they need to solve problem
  • Activity on classifying problem, identify tools need to solve, solve, test with related problems of increasing complexity
  • Diagram question – force diagram; create similar question, chose what questions would have the same solution
  • Make connections among concepts explicit
  • Identify where students get stuck
  • Identify why they choose the wrong solution
  • How do they approach solving problems?
  • What did they do to get an answer?
  • Get real time feedback on how students are approaching problem



  • Ambrose, S.A., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M.C., Norman, M.K. (2010). How Learning Works: 7 Researched-based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Doyle, Terry. (2008) Helping Students Learn in a Learner-Centered Environment. Sterling: Stylus