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Combining Early Childhood Education and Engineering Students to Create a Multidisciplinary Design Experience

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Engineering in Societal Context

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Neil Littell Ohio University

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Dr. W. Neil Littell is an Assistant Professor at Ohio University within the Russ College of Engineering in the department of Engineering Technology and Management. Dr. Littell earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Instructional Systems and Workforce Development (2013) from Mississippi State University. Dr. Littell also received a Masters in Technology from Mississippi State University (2005). Additionally, he holds Bachelor of Science degrees in both Industrial Technology and Trade and Technical Studies from Mississippi State University (2004). Dr. Littell also has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Drafting and Design from Holmes Community College (2002).

Dr. Littell is an accomplished manager with more than 10 years of experience providing results-oriented leadership. His previous positions include the PLM Coordinator at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems at Mississippi State University from 2004-2008. He was Director at Large for COE, the World’s largest users group of Dassault Systemès PLM products from 2008 to 2012, where he was acknowledged with the BJ Fries Award of Merit for making balanced contributions to the organization's activities and growth. His most recent position was as the Engineering Program Manager and CAD/PLM Administrator at Viking Range LLC, located in Greenwood, Mississippi from 2008 to May 2014.

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Sara Lohrman Hartman Ohio University

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Dr. Hartman an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education in The Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education at Ohio University.

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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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