Construction Teaching Aids

Kris G. Mattila, Ph.D., P.E.


Associate Professor

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Michigan Technological University

1400 Townsend Drive

Houghton, MI49931


201 H Dillman Hall

(906) 487-2523


One of the things that I realized after getting my Ph.D. was that I was not really prepared to teach.I had taken classes, performed research and had 12 years of industry experience.However, while I could cover the necessary material there were times that I needed something to make my classes more interesting, interactive and fun.The fun part I believe is important in that if students are having fun and laughing I believe they are learning.Also, if I am having fun teaching, then it makes the job that much better.Also, people who are just starting off need help.That is why I developed this site.I will put some of the things that I do in class in the hopes that someone will use them, improve them and have fun doing it. If you use something you found here please mention where you got it from.If you have comments or suggestions please let me know.


Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne Come to Class

Kris G. Mattila, and Raine Wanner

Proceedings of the 2004 Associated Schools of Construction Great Lakes Region Annual Meeting.

Presented at the Associated Schools of Construction Great Lakes Region III Annual Meeting. Oct. 28 - 30, 2004, Downers Grove, Illinois.



It is important in any class to engage the students on the first day.This not only helps to reduce the uneasiness that students feel about an unknown instructor but it helps to set the stage for the remainder of the class.This paper explains what is done in an introductory construction class where a childrenís classic storybook, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, by Virginia Lee Burton is used to explain many concepts of construction and many topics that will be covered throughout the class.It is hoped that others can benefit from using this book or incorporate similar ideas into their classes.


Methods to Assist in Teaching Planning and Scheduling

Kris G. Mattila, James B. Pocock, and Patrick C. Suermann,

ASC Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference, Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado. April 20 - 22, 2006



Many students struggle with the concepts of planning and scheduling when first introduced to it.This struggle extends from the introduction of work breakdown structure to network logic through the meaning of critical activities and continuing with other planning and scheduling topics.This paper explains methods used in Civil Engineering construction courses to assist students in understanding scheduling concepts.The basis for explaining these concepts is the studentís schedule of classes that comprise the requirements of their Civil Engineering degree.The technique of using material that students are familiar with to explain something new is a recognized educational theory.