Asee peer logo

Adaptation of Design Modules to First-year Engineering Courses and K-12 Outreach: Update on IDEAS Project

Download Paper |


2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

FPD VIII: Crossing Bridges and Easing Transitions into the First Year

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.129.1 - 25.129.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Amber Kemppainen Michigan Technological University

visit author page

Amber Kemppainen is a Senior Lecturer in the Engineering Fundamentals Department at Michigan Technological University.

visit author page

author page

Gretchen L. Hein Michigan Technological University

author page

Ruth Archer Michigan Technological University

author page

Meral Jackson Michigan Technological University

author page

Mary A. Fraley Michigan Technological University


Crystal Lynn Payment Michigan Technological University

visit author page

Crystal Payment earned a B.S. in environmental engineering and an M.S. in civil engineering, both from Michigan Technological University, focusing on water resources. She has worked for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality as a Hydrologic Engineer, as independent consulting in forestry, Summer Youth Programs Instructor at Michigan Technological University, and as an Adjunct Faculty member for the Department of Engineering Fundamentals at Michigan Technological University, Gogebic Community College, and Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College. She currently works as a Hydrologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Adaptation of Design Modules to K-12 Outreach and First-Year Engineering Courses – Update on ________ ProjectAbstractDesign modules from the ______ Project (NSF #####) developed for a two-semester coursesequence, have been customized for use in other first-year engineering courses and K-12outreach. This paper will discuss the adaptations from the original projects to a one-semestercourse and to various outreach activities.Students enrolled at our university who are pre-calculus ready follow a three-course sequencethrough the first-year engineering program (COURSE numbers). As part of the ______ project,design modules were created in biomechanics, wind, and aquaculture for these courses (~200students). For the biomechanics module, students designed, built, and analyzed a prosthetic leg.They used a force plate to record the forces generated from a simple kicking motion. Students inthe wind turbine module built and analyzed a lab-scale wind turbine constructed from recycledmaterials for their first course and used 3-D modeling software to design turbine blades for asecond semester project. These blades were printed on a 3-D printer and attached to an existingstand for a performance analysis. In the aquaculture project, students designed, built, andanalyzed a small-scale aerator for an aquaculture facility in their first semester. In the secondsemester, students developed the layout of the facility and evaluated the current pumping system.Results from the initial implementation in the 2010-2011 academic year indicated that themajority of students recognized the engineering applications of these projects and enjoyed thebuilding and analysis components. All teams felt that they would like to see more of this type ofproject in their first-year engineering courses.  The success of these projects motivated first-yearinstructors in the two-course, calculus-ready sequence (COURSE numbers) to implementportions of the projects. In August 2011, the co-PIs from the PROJECT hosted a workshop for the faculty and instructorsin the first-year engineering department. The workshop covered the aquaculture and wind turbineprojects from the pre-calculus courses and provided implementation recommendations for thecalculus sequence. The wind energy project was selected for implementation into the calculus-ready sequence. The general deliverables for the pre-calculus and calculus courses are listedbelow in Table 1. Most of the necessary adaptations involved integrating and combining thedesign activities from the two-course sequence into a single course. The original design projects,the integration aspects and challenge, and recommendations for further integration will bediscussed in the paper.For 9 of the 13 calculus –ready courses, instructors used the first four deliverables from theCourse 1 wind turbine project and the ethics analysis. The testing and analysis component of theproject was taken from the Course 2 project. During the testing of the wind turbine, a motiondetector recorded the blade position. The data set was filtered and analyzed using MATLAB.Table 1. Wind Turbine Design Project Deliverables for Pre-Calculus Track of First-YearEngineering Program and Adaptations to Calculus TrackPre-Calculus Course 1 Pre-Calculus Course 2 Calculus Track Design Design Project Design Project Project Activities Activities Activities1. Initial Research and 1. Project 1. Initial Research and Project Management Plan Project Management plan Management plan 2. NX Blade Design 2. Design Construction2. Design 3. Design Testing 3. Pre-test Designs Construction 4. Math Model 4. Test Designs3. Pre-test Designs 5. Final Design 5. Math Model4. Design Updates Report 6. Design Ethics Analysis5. Design Testing 7. Final Report6. Team Data Analysis7. Design Ethics Analysis8. Class Data Analysis9. Final Report MemoThe wind energy and biomechanics projects greatly interested the University Outreach Office.The design and construction aspects of the two projects were used in summer outreach programsthat targeted underrepresented groups in engineering. Students in these programs had only tenhours to construct and analyze their designs. As such, modifications of the construction andtesting procedures were used from pre-calculus Course 1.During the summer outreach programs, middle and high school students constructed an artificiallimb using PVC piping for the “bones” and a knee joint using a variety of materials (hinges,paint rollers, etc.). Their designs were tested using a two-step method. The first test was to verifythat their design had the correct range of motion. They compared measurements from their ownlegs to the design using a goniometer. The next step was to determine the force exerted during akick as measured on a force plate and also using a soccer ball.Students building wind turbines had to create blades for an existing hub and stand. The bladeswere constructed from different materials (plastic bottles, paper maché, cardboard, etc.). Oncethe blades were installed, the students tested them using a photo tachometer to record RPMs anda multimeter to determine how much voltage was generated. The following paper will describethe projects, and include an assessment of the implementation process.

Kemppainen, A., & Hein, G. L., & Archer, R., & Jackson, M., & Fraley, M. A., & Payment, C. L. (2012, June), Adaptation of Design Modules to First-year Engineering Courses and K-12 Outreach: Update on IDEAS Project Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20889

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: © 2012 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