June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Two professors in a midsized Midwest university decided to pursue a multidisciplinary design challenge through combining an early childhood development class with an engineering design class. The focus of the project was to allow the students to partner to accomplish an open ended design challenge. The challenge presented by the professors was to design and develop the engineering specification and collateral documentation to execute the fabrication of a museum display. The museum displays are targeted towards teaching early childhood through teenagers pointed STEM topics. The professors systematically grouped the students into 13 groups of 4-6 students from both early childhood education and engineering technology and management. The professors held a brief seminar with the students, where they explained the requirements of the design project as well as providing a brief overview of the scope of each of the classes. The students then participated in a team building exercise and a brain storming exercise to determine the theme of their individual design projects. Through the remainder of the course, the students collaborated to provide the documentation to allow an external party to fabricate the museum displays. Deliverables included engineering documentation such as the engineering drawings, bill of materials and failure modes and effects analysis. However, this project also required the inclusion of other documentation as well, such as a detailed product description of how the children would interact with the displays, signage for the displays and a take home activity for the children to allow the audience to further explore the concepts presented in the museum display. The purpose of this project was to provide an open-ended and unstructured applied educational experience where students had to work with other students from a different background to accomplish a design challenge. The project took the students slightly out of their comfort zones, and it allowed them to create the design for a product that if constructed could be placed within a library, children’s museum or school.
Littell, N., & Hartman, S. L. (2017, June), Combining Early Childhood Education and Engineering Students to Create a Multidisciplinary Design Experience Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28050
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