Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Commence Spring 2012

This semester I teach "Mechanics of Materials and Design Applications," or as I like to think of it "16 weeks of stress and strain." The newest challenge: teaching in the AM instead of the afternoon, so not only are the students barely awake, but their distinguished instructor is also working through the gears. I feel a slight head ache just thinking about it.

In all seriousness, I'm happy to be back in the classroom, especially with this semester's content, which I find much more interesting. I'm curious to see how the students pick up these new concepts versus the ones they had last semester because I think the two sets are equally applicable to "the real world," but one involves real movement (stretching, squishing ... active verbs, no?), whereas statics was about everything not moving at all. My suspicion is that being able to imagine structural members in activity will make learning the concepts quicker.

And in just a few weeks, the students will be presenting more project models in collaboration with the French school. The "pylône" project is a 100 cm tall tower built out of thin sticks (basswood or something) with cantilevered arms to take symmetric and eccentric loads. It'll be fun to see all those models in the same room.

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