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Educational Opportunities of a Designed-based Project that Challenges Freshman Students to Build a Miniature Racing Car

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Technical Session: Capstone and Design

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Farid Breidi

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Farid Breidi is an Assistant Professor in Engineering at the University of Southern Indiana. He received his B.E. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the American University of Beirut in 2010, his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012, and his Ph.D. in the area of fluid power, dynamic systems and controls from Purdue University in 2016.

His research interests include digital fluid power systems, modeling and simulation of dynamic systems, and component design.

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Jotam E. Chen University of Southern Indiana

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Madelyn D. Sturgeon

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Justin Michael Amos University of Southern Indiana

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This research paper introduces a semester long, team-oriented, hands-on engineering project to design a miniature racing car that will compete in a series of challenges. Each team, consisting of three to four members, will be given a battery and a motor by the beginning of the semester, and by the end of the semester, must come up with their own unique design, manufacture their design, present it to the class and engineering faculty and staff, and compete in a series of racing challenges. The miniature racing car project awakes a desire of learning about engineering while acquiring useful skills such as problem solving, machining, time management, leadership, teamwork, etc. In addition, the students learn how to utilize engineering software such as MATLAB, SolidWorks, AutoCAD, and others in a creative manner to benefit in the project. The project is centered on the Conceive, Design, Implement, and Operate (CDIO) process, which is an innovative educational technique based on the principle that product, process, and system development are a key context for an engineering education. This project enhances students’ learning experience through three categories: knowledge, skills, and competitiveness. This project accomplishes these three categories by helping each individual acquire technical and analytical skills and allowing them to experience what it is like to work on an engineering design using the proper software and hardware tools. First-year engineering students tend to question if they will be able to come up with creative designs and develop innovative devices within a relatively short period of time. Implementing a system engineering and freshman design course in the engineering core that challenges students to build a miniature racing car is beneficial for the students. Educational benefits that have been discovered are that students realize what they are interested in, discover what their roles are as a part of a team, gain soft and technical skills, and enjoy the project overall. The effectiveness of the project was quantitatively measured through surveys that exposed the students to different aspects of the course. This showed that although most students thought they did not have the skills to successfully complete the project, at the end, they were able to succeed and learn from the experience.

Breidi, F., & Chen, J. E., & Sturgeon, M. D., & Amos, J. M. (2020, June), Educational Opportunities of a Designed-based Project that Challenges Freshman Students to Build a Miniature Racing Car Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34494

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