2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Find Your Center: Using Engineering and Biomechanics to Investigate Center of Mass (P12 Resource Exchange)

Presented at K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Curriculum and Resource Exchange

Through this resource, we describe how to teach center of mass principles to high school (grades 9-12) students in the context of athletic performance. Our goal is to provide relevant lessons on biomechanics, a sub field of mechanics in engineering and physics that deal with forces and motion related to the human body. Biomechanics represents a unique learning opportunity to teach core mechanics concepts through the lens of anatomy and medicine, which is more relatable to students than classic examples from automotive and aerospace engineering. In this resource, we include a 5E lesson plan for engaging high school students in core ideas, crosscutting concepts and science and engineering practices related to force and motion in the Next Generation Science Standards. Students apply three methods for estimating center of mass and apply their understanding of center of mass to make recommendations to a diver for safe diving distances. We will share teacher lesson plans for all three lesson plus extension activities, associated student handouts, and assessments for evaluating student understanding.

  1. Dr. Amy Trauth-Nare University of Delaware [biography]
  2. Prof. Jenni Buckley University of Delaware [biography]
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