Taking the learning outside the classroom
Mechanical engineering freshmen recently stepped out of the classroom and took to the ropes on the 50-foot alpine climbing tower located on campus. The mission - figure out how much the entire tower weighed and the forces between members, by using the engineering and math principles they studied in class. In groups of three, students climbed the tower and took measurements, using only protractors and tape measures…and some balancing skills, too.
Professor Jed Lyons used this unique teaching technique to reinforce fundamental engineering principles, and hopefully, raise the interest level of his students to a new height.
"I think a real world problem solving experience like this one motivates students to learn and better understand the fundamentals of engineering in a fun way," said Lyons. “They must rely on their teamwork to estimate the weight – which turned out to be more than 26,000 pounds.”