Asee peer logo

An Introduction To Engineering Problem Solving And Design For High School Students In The Tennessee Governor's School For The Sciences

Download Paper |


1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.96.1 - 3.96.8



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Christopher D. Pionke

author page

J. Roger Parsons

Download Paper |

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

Session 2653

An Introduction to Engineering Problem Solving and Design for High School Students in the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Sciences Christopher D. Pionke, J. Roger Parsons Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Science, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996


For the last several years, recruiting efforts for the College of Engineering have become increasingly important as enrollments have declined, competition for bright high school students has increased, and the importance of non-traditional student representation in engineering has been realized. This paper describes a program, which through an immersion into the engineering design process, combines fun and competition with realistic information about the career of engineering.

The Tennessee Governor’s School for the Sciences is a four-week summer program for rising high school juniors and seniors who are among the best and brightest in the state. Morning sessions of the program consist of a common curriculum for all 150 students with courses on computer skills, technical writing, and professional practices and ethics. In the afternoon, the students attend one of six specialty areas with approximately 20-30 students enrolled in each specialty. Each student attends only one specialty area for the entire four weeks.

Engineering is one of the specialty areas. Students chosen for this program have expressed an interest in engineering as a possible career choice. Essentially, the students can be divided into two groups – those who know (or think) they want to become engineers and those who want to find out more information about the engineering profession before they make a decision.

For the last two summers, the authors have been the instructors for the engineering component of Governor’s School (Pionke in ’96, Parsons in ’97). Also during the past two years, the authors have been involved with two new curriculum initiatives: the development of a sophomore level introductory course in engineering design; and a total redevelopment of the entire freshman curriculum at the University of Tennessee (UT). The new freshman curriculum integrates graphics, computer skills, statics, and dynamics into a comprehensive course that includes an introduction to engineering design and problem solving, teamwork, and essential communications skills.

Previous engineering Governor’s School programs had been a survey of offerings from the various departments and had not been highly rated by the students. Given the background of the instructors, the authors decided that the best program for the Governor’s School would be an integrated program, providing an introduction to some of the same concepts and ideas that they had developed for the new freshman curriculum at UT. In this program, the concepts of what engineers do, the engineering design process and problem solving skills are presented via both “open” and “closed” design projects. Three projects are completed during the four-week

Pionke, C. D., & Parsons, J. R. (1998, June), An Introduction To Engineering Problem Solving And Design For High School Students In The Tennessee Governor's School For The Sciences Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7246

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: © 1998 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