Integrator element as a promoter of active learning in engineering teaching


In this paper, we present a teaching proposal used in an Introductory Physics course to civil engineering students from Porto’s Engineering Institute /Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto (ISEP). The proposal was born from the need to change students' perception and motivation for learning physics. It consists in the use of an integrator element, called the physics elevator project. This integrator element allows us to use, in a single project, all the content taught in the course and uses several active learning strategies. In this paper, we analyse this project as: (i) a clarifying element of the contents covered in the course; (ii) a promoter element of motivation and active participation in class and finally and (iii) a link between the contents covered in the course and the ‘real world’. The data were collected by a questionnaire and interviews to students. From the data collected, it seems that the integrator element improves students’ motivation towards physics and develops several skills that they consider to be important to their professional future. It also acts as a clarifying element and makes the connection between the physics that is taught and the‘real world’.


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