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Paper: Circuit Design: An Inquiry Lab Activity at Maui Community College
Volume: 436, Learning from Inquiry In Practice
Page: 295
Authors: Morzinski, K.; Azucena, O.; Downs, C.; Favaloro, T.; Park, J.; U, V.
Abstract: We present an inquiry lab activity on Circuit Design that was conducted in Fall 2009 with first-year community college students majoring in Electrical Engineering Technology. This inquiry emphasized the use of engineering process skills, including circuit assembly and problem solving, while learning technical content. Content goals of the inquiry emphasized understanding voltage dividers (Kirchoff's voltage law) and analysis and optimization of resistive networks (Thévenin equivalence). We assumed prior exposure to series and parallel circuits and Ohm's law (the relationship between voltage, current, and resistance) and designed the inquiry to develop these skills. The inquiry utilized selection of engineering challenges on a specific circuit (the Wheatstone Bridge) to realize these learning goals. Students generated questions and observations during the starters, which were categorized into four engineering challenges or design goals. The students formed teams and chose one challenge to focus on during the inquiry. We created a rubric for summative assessment which helped to clarify and solidify project goals while designing the inquiry and aided in formative assessment during the activity. After describing implementation, we compare and contrast engineering-oriented inquiry design as opposed to activities geared toward science learning.
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