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Development of a Semester-long High School Introduction to Engineering Design Course for a Prototypical Classroom (Curriculum Exchange)

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Curriculum Exchange

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.527.1 - 26.527.2



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Paper Authors


Jacob L. Segil University of Colorado at Boulder

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Jacob L. Segil is an Instructor for General Engineering Plus and Mechanical Engineering degree programs at the University of Colorado Boulder. Jacob has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a Bioengineering focus from the University of Colorado Boulder, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. Jacob researches brain-machine interfaces, neural prosthetic devices, and engineering education.

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Brian Huang SparkFun Electronics

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Brian Huang is an Education Engineer for SparkFun Electronics, a cutting edge open-source hardware and electronics education company. Brian started his career in engineering with wireless transport technologies for ADC Telecommunications in Minneapolis, MN. While working at ADC, Brian volunteered at the Science Museum of Minnesota and quickly discovered a passion for teaching and working with students - especially in an environment that fostered and supported the “wow” factor associated with inquiry and discovery. In 2007, Brian left the world of engineering to pursue a career in education. For the past 5 years, Brian has taught various levels of high school physics, mathematics, applied technology, and robotics.

Brian joined Sparkfun Electronics to help integrate “tinkering,” electronics, and computational thinking into the classroom. One of his goals is to help teachers to de-mystify how household consumer electronics work. With a few simple tools, classrooms can excite and encourage students to explore the possibilities of microcontrollers, electronics, and physical computing.

Brian Huang has a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a Masters in Education from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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Lindsay Diamond SparkFun Electronics

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Lindsay Diamond is the Director of Education at SparkFun Electronics, a cutting-edge open source hardware company with a keen interest in STEM education. Lindsay received her Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology and Applied Physiology from University of Colorado, Boulder and Doctorate in Biomedical Sciences from University of Florida College of Medicine.

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Development of a Semester Long High School Introduction to Engineering Design  Course for a Prototypical Classroom   Brief 100 word description  The SparkFun Introduction 2 Design (SI2D) High School course provides an introduction to engineering through a series of team­based design projects using products from SparkFun Electronics in a prototypical classroom.  This curriculum was based on a First Year Projects Course taught at the [University].  Students learn key engineering skills in various disciplines including electrical, mechanical, and software design.  Also, students practice written and oral communication, teamwork, and management of long­term team­based projects.  The 18­week course integrates low­cost, open­source SparkFun products in order to transform a prototypical classroom into a modern engineering design facility.  Description of materials: The course consists of three main elements: lectures, workshops, and design projects. The lectures introduce important engineering design concepts like the design loop as well as technical content on various engineering disciplines.  Workshops are interspersed to practice technical skills required for the successful completion of the design projects.  Workshop topics include circuit design, soldering, CAD, Arduino coding, and others.  These lectures and workshops use products from SparkFun Electronics to integrate hands­on learning in a prototypical classroom.  Finally, the course includes two design projects.  The introductory design project is a short­term (two week) fast­paced design project that is meant to force teams into making rapid design iterations.  The scope of the project is smaller than the final design project, but the time is more constrained and requires only household items.  The final design project is a long­term (twelve week) expansive design project that requires teams to develop custom electrical, mechanical, and software components using SparkFun products.  The project includes many milestones to ensure progress by the team and builds upon the SparkFun Simon Tilts device in order to create a unique design.  The SI2D High School course converts a classroom with only power outlets and community computers into an advanced design facility.   

Segil, J. L., & Huang, B., & Diamond, L. (2015, June), Development of a Semester-long High School Introduction to Engineering Design Course for a Prototypical Classroom (Curriculum Exchange) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23866

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