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A Team Build-Test-Redesign Project in an Engineering Statics Course

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Design Across Curriculum 1

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Xiaobin Le P.E. Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Professor, Ph.D, PE., Department of Mechanical Engineering and Technology, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, MA 02115, Phone: 617-989-4223, Email:, Specialization in Computer Aided Design, Mechanical Design, Finite Element Analysis, Fatigue Design, Solid Mechanics and Engineering Reliability

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Richard L. Roberts Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Wentworth Institute of Technology
550 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115

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Gloria Guohua Ma Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Gloria Ma is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Technology. She has been teaching robotics with Lego Mindstorm to ME freshmen for several years. She is actively involved in community services of offering robotics workshops to middle- and high-school girls. Her research interests are dynamics and system modeling, geometry modeling, project based engineering design, and robotics in manufacturing.

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Herb Connors Wentworth Institute of Technology

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A team build-test-redesign project in an engineering statics course Abstract: The first core technical course in the mechanical engineering program at Wentworth Institute of Technology is engineering statics. Typically, engineering statics is a lecture only format without any lab section. Students passively listen to lectures and then do their homework assignments. It is commonly agreed that engineering statics is a difficult and stressful course and we need to motivate students for active learning by different approaches. We have introduced a team design project in our engineering statics course. We not only wanted to motivate students to actively learn statics but also help students to get familiar with the process of design projects and to accumulate some hands-on experience in conducting a design project. This project is to build-test-redesign wooden structure project. In this project, students work in a team, build their first wooden structure and test it. The maximum compressive force was recorded when the wooden structure fractures or loses stability. Students were required to observe and describe the failure of their designs, and then to redesign and retest their wooden structures. In the end, they were required to write a technical report. These activities helped them to get familiar with the process of a design project, gain some hands-on experience for conducting a design project, and motivate them to actively study engineering statics. This paper will describe this team design project, its implementation, some samples of wooden structures constructed by students and test results. The paper will also present survey data, data analysis, some discussions and interviews with students. Based on students’ surveys and direct observations, students gained hands-on experience from the team project and had a better understanding of engineering statics. Keywords: Design project, Engineering statics, Tests on the prototype, Failure analysis, Team-workability, Wooden structure

Le, X., & Roberts, R. L., & Ma, G. G., & Connors, H. (2020, June), A Team Build-Test-Redesign Project in an Engineering Statics Course Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34075

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