Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title



Students are given the materials and the supplemental instruction to further their knowledge and understanding of Mechanics through the use of MATLAB/Octave. The student's understanding is measured using pre- and post-tests, questionnaires, mini-projects, and a main project. The students were able to seek help from the instructor and assistance from the peer leader in guiding their train of thought. The mini-projects were driven by the theory presented in class and gave the students the opportunity to learn how to form a complete theory and modify the solutions to work with a MATLAB/Octave code that would simulate the system. The programs let the students properly visualize the behavior of the systems and gain experience working with a coding language that will benefit them in their future careers. The main project evaluated the students' ability to form a complete analytical solution compared to a full numerical one. We gathered data by administering a pre- and post-test, given on the first and last day of the Mechanics course, to measure the difference in knowledge between the start of the course and the completion of the course. This data is compared to the data from a previous year and to the other peer leader's group of students. On the last day of class, a questionnaire was given out to determine the effectiveness of the course structure from the students' perspective and their ideas on how to improve it. Being a peer leader and a student, my final project was to develop the theory for the damped pendulum. We went beyond the small angle approximation and used the method of successive approximations to obtain an analytical solution which is compared to the numerical solution using the Euler-Cromer method.


UWG SEEP Mini-grant Program

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