10 Tips for Teaching Engineering, Physics and Applied Math Using SOLIDWORKS Simulation Tutorials

Are you new to teaching or an experience educator? When I got hired at Mass Bay Community College, the engineering dean said, “You are assigned four courses. You can teach anything – right?  Class starts in 1 week.”  Of course I said yes, and for the first semester, I had a lot to learn about teaching.

I developed skills over 10 years of teaching Physics, Calculus, Differential Equations, Computer Science, Engineering Mechanics (statics, dynamics, strength of materials), Computer Science, and Engineering Design – while I designed and built a CAD Certificate program.  I dove into SOLIDWORKS to find relevant lessons to strengthen student’s math skills and used computer graphics to help them understand the physical meaning of results.

My first exploration included SOLIDWORKS Mass Properties and Section Properties under the Evaluate Tab for my math classes.  How many students fail to understand units, surface area, center of mass from a algebra or calculus based example and tie numbers to something physical?  Soon I would find SOLIDWORKS Simulation and my love with “Fun with Physics” began.

The SOLIDWORKS Education Edition provides SOLIDWORKS Simulation Applications and Add-Ins with examples to reinforce classroom theory and develop relevant job skills, no matter what grade level you teach. All you have to do is “turn on” additional Add-Ins to find examples across all engineering disciples, including physics and mathematics.

These 10 Tips for Teaching Engineering concentrates on using SOLIDWORKS Simulation Applications for Stress Analysis, Flow Analysis, including HVAC and Electric Cooling, Kinematics (Motion), Injection Molding, and SOLIDWORKS Simulation API’s.  There are additional blog posts on tips for teaching SolidWorks based CAD classes and 3DEXPERIENCE (cloud) platform later this month.

1. Accessing SolidWorks Add-Ins

The SOLIDWORKS Education Edition contains a family of simulation applications: SolidWorks Simulation Premium (FEA), SolidWorks Flow Simulation (CFD), SolidWorks Motion (Kinematics), and SolidWorks Plastics (Injection Molding)

Select Tools>Add-Ins from the Main menu to check the tools you want to use and the tutorials to be displayed.

Open a Part. To access tutorials, sample models, and pdf documents, you must first open a SOLIDWORKS part. Select Help or Press F1 to view the SOLIDWORKS Simulation and Flow Simulation lessons.

SOLIDWORKS Plastics Tutorials and Samples are available from the SOLIDWORKS Plastics Toolbar.

2. Free Student Access

Qualified schools on subscription are provided SOLIDWORKS Student Access Home Use 12month Licensing for free.  Your value added reseller or school’s IT professional provides a serial number for your students to download SOLIDWORKS to their own computers.  Students use Add-Ins to load the Simulation tools.  The Simulation Add-Ins in the SOLIDWORKS Education Edition and the SOLIDWORKS Student Edition are the same.  Students can work on class assignments, projects, and prepare for certifications and job interviews.  Your competitive student teams, SAE, Shell-Eco, FIRST and more, can apply for SOLIDWORKS Student sponsorship too.

3. SolidWorks Simulation Certification Exams

SOLIDWORKS Academic Certification program allows qualified schools on subscription to provide our certification exams to their students in a proctored setting. For engineering students, there are three simulation exams that test both engineering theory and applied knowledge with a deep understanding of simulation results.

The Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate –  Simulation (CSWA–Simulation) certification indicates a foundation in and apprentice knowledge of demonstrating an understanding in the principles of stress analysis and the Finite Element Method (FEM).

The Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional – Simulation (CSWP-Simulation) exam tests your understanding of SOLIDWORKS Simulation tools and simulation in general including static, thermal and frequency studies. Both theory and applied examples are presented.

The Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional – Flow Simulation (CSWP-Flow) exam tests your understanding of SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation tools in the areas of liquids and gas, internal and external flows, substance mixing and conjugated heat transfer.

We have over 14 certification exams in engineering graphics competencies, sustainability, additive manufacturing, drawings, simulation and more.  Questions are random, based on 1000’s of values, and grading is automatic.  Certificates with unique numbers are given to successful students and employers can confirm certifications through our 3DEXPERIENCE Certification Center and LinkedIn.  These are the same exams given in industry.  Give your students an exam for life-long learning.


4. Structural Simulation, Flow Simulation & Plastics – On my PC PDFs

SOLIDWORKS provides simulation fundamentals both theoretical and applied through documents and sample models.

On my PC “Samples” folder in the SOLIDWORKS install directory contains 100+ page .pdfs, providing exercises at all levels.


The Flow Theoretical Manual, Technical Reference Manual, and Validation Examples require upper level mathematics background including matrix theory and differential equations. The Tutorials require Algebra.

For injection molding plastics, I would strongly recommend going through the Mold Tutorials on core/cavity in SOLIDWORKS Tutorials to understand the design and tooling process.

5. SOLIDWORKS Simulation Tutorials

With a SOLIDWORKS part open and the SOLIDWORKS Simulations Added – In, select  Help from the Help menu, F1, or ? in the upper right hand corner, inside of SOLIDWORKS, select SOLIDWORKS Simulation Tutorials.


There are three major categories Tutorials  Validation, and NAFEMS Benchmarks. For 1st year students, I concentrated on SolidWorks Simulation Tutorials (linear static) to illustrate physics concepts on a algebra level.

For my engineering mechanics students, I moved into the Validation examples.  Here simulation results were compared to analytical  textbook  classic examples.

When I taught Finite Element workshops or presented at  local ASME, ASEE, SolidWorks User Groups, I showcased NAFEMS benchmarks and advanced topics. SOLIDWORKS Simulation has examples in Event based motion, non-linear, dynamics, composites, design validation and optimization.


6. MySolidWorks – Simulation Lessons and Learning Paths

MySolidWorks is filled with lessons and learning paths.  With a guest account you have access to great lessons and learning paths. Educators and students can use their SOLIDWORKS Student Home Use serial number to access 100’s of lessons and learning paths including introduction, structural simulation, frequency analysis, thermal analysis,  linear, non-linear, and flow simulation.

A great overview of SOLIDWORKS Simulation tools can be found in the Simulation Suite of Products Lesson on MySolidWorks,

7. 3DEXPERIENCE Academic Community and SolidWorks User Group Network (SWUGN) Communities

SOLIDWORKS has many online communities.  Any educator of  Dassault Systemes software can be part of the 3DEXPERIENCE Academic Community, to find resources and ask questions. The community is private.  You can request to join at go.3ds.com/academiccommunity.  You need to create a 3DEXPERIENCE ID.

The SolidWorks User Group Network are independent user groups throughout the world.  They share a common love for SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS Simulation and welcome educators and students to their meetings.

8. Simulation Advisor and Flow Wizard

SolidWorks Simulation Advisor help students by asking a series of questions such as study type, material selection, loads and results for structural analysis.

Flow Wizard helps students through the setup process, mesh, boundary conditions and results for flow problems.


9. SolidWorks Simulation API Help and SOLIDWORKS Simulation Help

SOLIDWORKS provides API Help for SOLIDWORKS Simulation for those students using VB.NET.

SOLIDWORKS provides access to help from the ? icon or F1 key. In the Help menu, access the Tutorials, User Forum (Community support), and Introducing SW.pdf.



10. Academic Integrity

Educators have challenges.  We ask  you provide our SOLIDWORKS Simulation certification exams to your students in a proctored setting.  We also provide a tool inside of SOLIDWORKS to determine the user name, creation date and modified date of a particular feature.


For Simulation Report document, the name and date are listed on the front page of the document.  The Report document contains the machine name and date in the Windows Property option.

We thank all educators for using our tools in the classroom and look forward in hearing from you through our SOLIDWORKS Education FacebookSOLIDWORKS Edu InstagramSolidWorks User Group or 3DEXPERIENCE EDU Academic Community,

Design well.  Marie


Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard

Senior Director, Early Engagement, 3DEXPERIENCE Works at Dassault Systemes
Marie Planchard is an education and engineering advocate. As Senior Director of Education & Early Engagement, SOLIDWORKS, she is responsible for global development of content and social outreach for the 3DEXPERIENCE Works products across all levels of learning including educational institutions, Fab Labs, and entrepreneurship.
Marie Planchard