Project-based learning in a freshman engineering course: University-high school partnership

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Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The use of project-based learning with student teams is presented for a freshman-level Introduction to Engineering Design course taught to Civil and Mechanical Engineering students along with junior-level High School students. A project-based approach exposes the students to the concepts and processes involved in engineering design. Approximately ½ of the course is hands-on activities (using physical and computer models) where the students are able to apply fundamental engineering concepts to real life activities. Examples include forces on structures demonstrated through bridge construction, and fatigue of materials through failure analysis of common household items. All activities are performed in teams of three to four students. Team-building concepts are used to illustrate the critical issues of team-work. The other ½ of the course is devoted to steps in the engineering design process. Students demonstrate mastery of the material at semester’s end by working on a team design project. Each team member has assigned tasks and is held accountable for that portion of the design project. All students are responsible for ensuring that the final project is an integrated work that represents the team effort. Teams are required to build a physical model, complete a technical report and orally present their design.


Civil and mechanical engineering; Engineering design; Student projects


Civil Engineering | Construction Engineering and Management | Mechanical Engineering


American Society for Engineering Education Pacific Southwest Section Spring 2003 Conference Proceedings, March 20-21, 2003, Los Angeles, California.
Presented at: American Society for Engineering Education Pacific Southwest Section Spring 2003 Conference, March 20-21, 2003, Los Angeles, California


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