טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentBuri Boaz
SubjectConstruction of Basic Knowledge in High School Mechanics
through Integrative Learning of Physics and
Mechatronics
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisor Professor Igor Verner
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

Mechatronics is a high-tech technological discipline based on diverse scientific. Mechatronic students are required to acquire and understand concepts of mechanics, electricity, and computer science to integrate various mechatronic systems they develop and construct. In the current practice, physics in high schools studied either at the basic level or at the advanced level. Students who learn Physics at a basic level have a gap in mechanics and scientific inquiry.

The research goal is develop and explore a pedagogical approach to learning mechanics in the mechatronics course on its coordination with the physics course. The study will examine the following questions:

1.         What activities in mechatronics can contribute to the expansion of knowledge and understanding of concepts in mechanics?

2.         How to combine learning activities in physics inquiry with into a mechatronics project and focus it on achieving the project's goals?

3.         What are the students' perceptions of the integration of physics and mechatronics studies?

The study examines the effect of integrating experiential learning, on the understanding of physical principles implemented in mechatronic systems. In order to carry out the study, a learning environment built in the mechatronics laboratory. The environment includes Lego NXT construction kits and LabVIEW control software. Using mechatronic systems, the students plan and execute experiments in kinematics on topics that they study in the physics course. The experiments include designing, assembling, programming, and testing mechatronic systems.

The study included students from comprehensive schools that include technology education programs. The study participants includes 33 10th grade students for whom learned basic Physics.

The research deals with the development of an interdisciplinary approach that examines the effect of integrating experiential learning on understanding physical principles in mechatronic systems. The research carried out as a series of experiments that included the development of projects using technological systems to demonstrate processes and mechanical concepts learned in physics classes.

This research is a participatory case study, conducted in two six-year comprehensive high schools that include technology education programs. The study participants were 10th grade students (N=33), who studied advanced mechatronics course, regular mathematics, and basic physics.

Data were collected using the following research tools: lab reports, presentations of experiments, physics knowledge questionnaires (pre- and post-course), participatory observations of learning activities, attitudes questionnaires, and semi structured interviews with students and the physics teacher.

The answers to the research questions shown that there has been a process of improving understanding and deepening knowledge in mechanics. The observations had shown significant improvement skills in conducting, analyzing and writing experiments summary reports, teamwork, and deeper understanding of the performance of projects in mechatronics through focusing the students' activities. In addition, the interviews indicate that a curriculum that based on integration of physics and mechatronics studies is important and contributes to improving students' achievements and understanding in physics and mechatronics.

The study propose and practically implement the integrative approach to learning mechatronics and physics courses. It argues the argent need of uses such an approach in the situation when the physics course taught at the basic level.