Students' Conceptual Understanding of Mechanics and Materials for Axial and Bending Load Cases Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/x346d8178

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  • As people learn new concepts, they experience a process termed conceptual change. There are several theories that attempt to explain conceptual change, and this paper uses the framework theory to explain how students learn mechanics of materials. Semi-structured interviews with ninety students were qualitatively analyzed for this research in an attempt to find misconceptions students have regarding the concepts of mechanics of materials as they apply to axial loaded and bending members. Two common misconceptions were identified: 1) shear and normal stress depend on the direction of applied load; 2) shear and normal stress depend on the location of the applied load. This paper asserts that these misconceptions are part of a synthetic model of conceptual understanding that students create when assimilating presuppositions of mechanics of materials with newly acquired information of the scientific concepts. With an understanding of student misconceptions and an explanation of how these misconceptions form, it is possible to use instructional techniques that will help to prevent the formation of misconceptions.
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