Incorporating physical models and demonstrations in the introductory-level reinforced concrete design course has shown to be beneficial for students in clarifying and engraining fundamental concepts. The research study conducted at the author’s university during Spring 2015 involved the design, fabrication, and implementation of models to supplement traditional lectures on topics that students have found challenging in prior offerings of the course. Specifically, these demonstration tools illustrate:

• Three-dimensional stress blocks for rectangular/flanged beams subjected to varying levels of flexural demand • Distinctions between the flexural behavior of one and two-way slabs • Placement of steel reinforcement for singly/doubly reinforced beams with shear stirrups • Design of one-way slab building systems including construction of slab, interior/edge beams, and columns as well as connection detailing

The paper will include details intended to enable other civil engineering educators to: fabricate the models, incorporate them in a large-lecture setting, as well as facilitate activities that encourage students to engage with the physical artifacts.The author will also present student feedback on the use of these physical models that was acquired through an IRB-approved human studies research study during Spring 2015. This includes results from mid- and end-term surveys with two class sections of over ninety undergraduate and graduate students.

The overall objective of this paper is to provide educators with sample teaching tools to help students better visualize three-dimensional ideas and systems – a skill which is critical as students transition to design industry. In addition, it is intended to stimulate a dialogue with educators about further needs for physical models in reinforced concrete design education, and more generally, in the civil engineering design classroom.


Architectural Engineering

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NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Anahid Behrouzi was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/aen_fac/97