D. Smetanová, P. Hrubý, T. Náhlík

The Institute of Technology and Business (CZECH REPUBLIC)
The article deals with experimentation in teaching statics. The experiment was focused on the students methods for own solving examples. Within the course, students are given homework. They can use any sources and knowledge available to them. In this way, as a teacher, we try to encourage their creativity and interconnect the various subjects of their studies.

For the homework, they should determine the forces of FA, FB, FC that act on an object attached to the wall by three rods. This object is loaded with the gravitational force Fg and the individual forces FA, FB, FC act in the direction of the rods. Mounting rods on the object are symmetrical around a central rod (distance between the upper and middle anchorage is the same as between the lower and the middle). Thanks to symmetrical anchoring, the solution of this task is quite easy. Students asked the question what would happen if the distance between the bars would be different. In this case, the solution is somewhat more complex, and in order to motivate students, they have the chance to get bonus points for solving this task.

Finally, students created a script for the symbolic solution of the task in GNU Octave. This approach allowed them to compare the standard procedure of solving the system of equations using determinants, with the solution provided by the computer. In addition, they have been given the opportunity to see how the forces will be expressed in the case of an uneven attachment. During the following lesson, a discussion on the benefits of individual approaches (classical analytics and solution using GNU Octave) was conducted.