Students’ Strategies for Setting up Differential Equations in Engineering Contexts

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Abstract/Description:

Ordinary differential equations (ODEs) comprise an important tool for mathematical modelling in science and engineering. This study focuses on how students in an engineering system dynamics course organized the act of setting up ODEs for complex engineering contexts. Through the lens of ODEs as a “coordination class” concept, we examined the strategies that seemed to guide the students’ interpretations of problem tasks and their activation of knowledge elements during the tasks, as the students worked to produce ODEs for those tasks. This led to our uncovering of three main strategies guiding the students’ work, and the finding that being able to flexibly draw on all of these strategies may be beneficial for student success.


Location: RUME Conference, San Diego, California
Presenter:

Steven Jones and Omar Naranjo, Brigham Young University