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A Learning Tool For Engineering Freshmen A Model Rocket Project

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Introduction to Engineering Courses

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.54.1 - 7.54.12



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Paper Authors

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Hazel Pierson

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Daniel Suchora

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

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Session 2253

A Learning Tool for Engineering Freshmen A Model Rocket Project

Daniel H. Suchora, Hazel M. Pierson

Youngstown State University


First semester engineering students bring a spectrum of understanding of the engineering profession is. They know that engineers design things and they have been told to be an engineer you need to be good at math and science. Some are very committed to obtaining an engineering degree while others are not too sure if engineering is for them.

Engineering freshmen have taken courses in math and science in high school and generally obtained good grades, but their understanding of these subjects is limited as they try to apply this knowledge to real problems. The same is true of computing. They can manipulate the computer well, but when expected to apply computing solutions to real problems their ability is limited.

In addition many of these students are not well prepared to interact in teams and get along socially with other students. They come from many different high schools and may be the only student coming to our College from their high school. In many instances their first day at class they don’t know anyone.

Engineering curriculums in the past basically ignored these facts. The freshmen engineering students had a difficult schedule of math and science courses along with all the social adjustments required in the transition between high school and college. Without a strong commitment to obtaining an engineering degree many capable engineering students changed majors or left school prior to the sophomore year. Also those sophomores who did survive the engineering freshmen year did not have the necessary background and commitment for the rigorous sophomore level engineering courses. At Youngstown State University, as with many engineering schools, a freshmen engineering program was developed and instituted with the goal to improve retention of freshmen engineering students, to better prepare them for the remainder of the engineering curriculum, and to give them a taste of engineering in the freshman year.

First semester engineering freshmen at Youngstown State take a three semester hour course which is taught with two lecture hours and three laboratory hours per week. One of the activities these students complete is a model rocket project. Teams of up to five students investigate the problem of predicting the height a model rocket can obtain and compare this prediction with the actual height achieved by a model rocket launched by the group.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Pierson, H., & Suchora, D. (2002, June), A Learning Tool For Engineering Freshmen A Model Rocket Project Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10659

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