A visual simulation playground for engineering dynamics



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Texas A&M University


Past educational studies reveal that students have difficulty making the connection between the mathematical and analytical models used to describe building behavior and the behavior itself. This thesis examines the development and use of visual simulation software as a tool to help students create connections between abstract mathematical models and the real world. A framework for the software was designed and implemented, enabling students to interactively construct, analyze, and evaluate models within a single environment. The software was tested by students in an undergraduate dynamics course to assess its effectiveness as a learning tool. Results are presented through scenarios that demonstrate the extensibility and flexibility of the framework and an analysis of student responses from the Student Assessment of Learning Gains instrument.