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"...A Good Imagination And A Pile Of Junk"

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship Education: Unique Approaches

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

13.1.1 - 13.1.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/4151

Download Count

29

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Paper Authors

biography

Shawn S Jordan Purdue Univeristy

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SHAWN JORDAN is a doctoral student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University, where he is studying geographically distributed design teams. He has appeared on many television shows with Rube Goldberg machines, including Jimmy Kimmel LIVE and Master of Champions on ABC, and has won two National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest championships.

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biography

Robin Adams Purdue University

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Robin S. Adams is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She also led the Institute for Scholarship on Engineering Education (ISEE) as part of the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE). Dr. Adams received her PhD in Education, Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington, a MS in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Washington, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Dr. Adams' research is concentrated on design cognition and learning (particularly iterative cycles in design), cross-disciplinary thinking, engineering epistemologies, building capacity in engineering education research, and strategies for connecting research and practice.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

“…A Good Imagination and a Pile of Junk” Abstract

The engineering workplace is placing more emphasis on teamwork in interdisciplinary environments, out-of-the-box thinking, creative engineering, and brainstorming. These skills are taught to varying degrees in standard engineering curriculums, and often the most fruitful opportunities exist for students to learn in venues outside of the classroom.

This paper will show how building Rube Goldberg machines is a fantastic way for learners from various disciplines to get hands-on project experience in a team environment. Intense brainstorming and work sessions result in inventive and unique machines that are fascinating for both participants and spectators to watch. In addition, students have opportunities to apply the technical skills they have learned in the classroom in an application where creativity is king but reliability is key.

This paper takes the reader on a journey through the author’s experiences leading a Rube Goldberg team through winning the national championship in 2006. This paper is the result of a deep iterative reflection, assisted by a collaborator in order to pull out the aspects of this experience that illuminate lessons related to design knowledge and learning. The aim of this paper is to identify important areas for future research and build a foundation for a future book intended to engage young learners in innovation and creative problem solving in a problem to product-focused environment. The experiences described in this paper will be particularly interesting to those looking to develop similar learning experiences for their students.

The machine the team built completed a task of individually shredding 5 sheets of 8 1/2" x 11” 20 lb paper into strips using a shredder over 215 steps. This paper will elucidate a successful design process including task determination, theme selection, module brainstorming, storyboard creation, and machine building. Artifacts of the process will be described, including an example of a module design where reliability became a problem that required multiple design iterations to thoroughly solve. Finally, a discussion of storyboarding as a way to promote creativity and innovation in design will be presented.

Introduction and motivations

The engineering workplace is changing to value teamwork in interdisciplinary environments, out-of-the-box thinking, creative engineering, and brainstorming. These attributes are highlighted in the recent Engineer of 2020 report1. Similarly, industry trends are leading people studying innovation to look toward fostering environments for creativity and engineering2 3 4.

These skills are taught to varying degrees in standard engineering curricula, and often the most fruitful opportunities exist for students to learn in venues outside of the classroom. Within curricula, these opportunities typically appear in both freshman and capstone undergraduate

Jordan, S. S., & Adams, R. (2008, June), "...A Good Imagination And A Pile Of Junk" Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4151

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015