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How Students Use Their Knowledge of Calculus in an Engineering Mechanics Course

C. Roddick
Journal / Anthology

Proceedings of the 17th Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for Psychology of Mathematics Education
Year: 1995
Volume: 1
Page range: 134-139

This study investigated students' conceptual and procedural understanding of calculus within the context of an engineering mechanics course. Four traditional calculus students were compared with three students from one of the calculus reform projects, Calculus & Mathematica. Task-based interviews were conducted with each participant throughout the course of the ten-week quarter. Results from interviews show a distinct difference in approaches to solving engineering mechanics problems that involve calculus. Calculus & Mathematica students, who learned calculus with a conceptual emphasis, were found to be more likely to solve problems from a conceptual viewpoint than were the traditional students, who were more likely to focus on procedures.

*Engineering > Mechanical and Structural Engineering