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Responding to the Changes in the Teaching and Learning of Mechanics in Schools Stephen Lee Martin Harrison Carol Robinson

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2 Overview Background Schools’ Perspective Questionnaire – Schools Undergraduates’ Background Questionnaire – Students University Perspective Questionnaire/ Interviews Good Practice Summary of Findings

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3 Background Maths Learning Support Centre Students need help with mechanics Realisation Some engineering students have not studied mechanics at school Anecdotal evidence Statistics – easy option

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4 Background - Changes Changes in Post-16 Qualifications in 2000, including mathematics Curriculum 2000 (Mathematics) 2 or 3 applied modules (need not include mechanics) September (2004) 2 applied modules

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5 Schools’ Perspective Questionnaire: To ascertain availability and uptake of mechanics modules January 2004 Posted to 500 ‘schools’ (18%) 242 replies 13,754 AS/A2-level maths students

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6 Schools’ Perspective Availability of applied modules 0 Modules% of Pupils% of Schools Mechanics2.625.35 Statistics1.362.06 Discrete43.4046.09 0 or 1 Module% of Pupils% of Schools Mechanics15.8326.34 Statistics14.1421.81 Discrete79.1079.01

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7 Schools’ Perspective Uptake of applied modules

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8 Undergraduates’ Background Questionnaire: To ascertain number of A-level mechanics modules studied Target groups Engineering, physics, maths October 2003 and 2004

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9 Undergraduates’ Background Results – Maths/Phys/Eng students

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10 Undergraduates’ Background

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11 University Perspective Online questionnaire created: http://www.mathscentre.ac.uk/stephen/questionnaire.html Gathered information on: Monitoring A-levels Students knowledge on arrival Mechanics teaching and support

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12 University Perspective 33 Replies 27 Departments 19 Universities Aston, Bangor, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Essex, Exeter, Huddersfield, Imperial, Loughborough, Manchester, Napier, Newcastle, Nottingham, Plymouth, Strathclyde, Ulster

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13 University Perspective In our sample: 50% of the academics monitor changes in A-level maths 1 in 5 of the departments check students maths A-level modules 58% of the academics assumed a knowledge of mechanics that their students would not necessarily have 2 out of 3 departments offer varying degrees of additional support

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14 University Perspective “We as an engineering faculty are reviewing the whole issue and would be in the market for materials - it is a real problem and is eating up resources.”

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15 Follow-up Interviews QE responses from 33 engineering academics Follow-up interviews with: 8 academics 8 departments 5 universities

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16 Interviews Good Practice Obtain students’ knowledge of mechanics on arrival Questionnaire Diagnostic testing Engage the students Labs Problem Based Learning

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17 Interviews Good Practice First university module in mechanics Review content Look at structure Consider streaming Low staff:student ratio Support the learning Resource Centre Reinforce learning via periodic assessment

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18 Summary Schools 5% offer no mechanics 26% offer at most M1 43% of all pupils study M1 (not necessarily engineers) LU Engineers Approx 8% have studied no mechanics modules Approx 30% have studied at most M1

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19 Summary Questionnaire to academics 33 Replies 27 Departments 19 Universities Follow-up Interviews 8 Academics 8 departments 5 Universities Good Practice

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20 What does it mean? Large numbers of students’ entering with little or no knowledge of mechanics Serious consideration has to be given to a first university course in mechanics

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21 Contact Details Stephen Lee Mathematics Education Centre Loughborough University Leicestershire LE11 3TU S.Lee2@lboro.ac.uk http://mec.lboro.ac.uk

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23 Syllabi M1/M2 OCR M1 (2637) Force as a vector Equilibrium of a particle Newton’s Laws of motion Linear momentum Kinematics of motion in a straight line M2 (2638) Centre of mass Equilibrium of a rigid body Motion of a projectile Uniform motion in a circle Coefficient of restitution and impulse Energy, work and power

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24 Syllabi M3/M4 OCR M3 (2639) Equilibrium of rigid bodies in contact Elastic strings and springs Impulse and momentum in two dimensions Motion in a vertical circle Linear motion under a variable force Simple Harmonic Motion M4 (2640) Relative motion Centre of mass Moment of inertia Rotation of a rigid body Stability and oscillations

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