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Abstract

This paper presents a new model building exercise in a second year module in the Department of Civil & Structural Engineering in the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). The activity aimed to improve students’ understanding of structural engineering, construction principles and methods. It allowed students to practically apply lecture material and construct a scaled model giving them an opportunity to study and visualise a real structure and generate their own ideas on how it should be assembled within a constructivist active learning environment. As a result, lectures were found to be more interactive and students more engaged in the discussions and provided a pathway to bridge the gap between theory (presented in lectures) and the reality of their professions, which can aid them in their graduate careers. It is hoped that this type of active learning can be used in other engineering programmes to improve student understanding and as an opportunity to better apply lecture material to the real world.

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