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First Year Hands On Design On A Dime Almost!

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Teaching Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.631.1 - 10.631.21



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Paper Authors

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Richard Goff

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Jeffrey Connor

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Jean Kampe

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

Session 2625

First-Year Hands-On Design on a Dime – Almost!

J.C. Malzahn Kampe, Richard M. Goff, Jeffrey B. Connor

Department of Engineering Education (0218) Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, Virginia 24061


The implementation of in-class, hands-on activities in first-year engineering classrooms can easily become a costly endeavor. This is especially true when the number of freshman students in the incoming class exceeds 1200. Additionally, difficulties in delivery logistics such as class time management and student team formation can often make an instructor hesitant to attempt participatory exercises within the confines of a regular classroom and a fifty-minute class period. This paper presents our experiences in the design and execution of seven first-year hands-on activities that incur very minimal expense and that focus on several aspects of the engineering design process. Topics covered in these exercises include: reverse engineering; the concept of a decision matrix using consumer versus manufacturer viewpoints; design criteria versus design constraints; and engineering analysis (problem solving, application of scientific principles, and log-log graphing). While a major goal of these exercises is to involve the students in team-based active classroom learning, we have also developed out-of-class work/questions for the exercises that offer individual reflective components to compliment and strengthen the in-class learning experience. Along with a review of the exercises that highlights the learning objective and student response to each activity, the paper offers notes on delivery logistics that have been successful in our classrooms and an account of the expenses associated with each exercise. The worksheets that we have created for these activities are provided as an appendix to the paper for reader use, and solution keys to the worksheets are available from the authors upon request.


In the past, experiential learning was often reserved for formal laboratory courses in which students were taught how to use testing equipment and how to record and analyze the measurements they made. Such courses usually required a special room (i.e., the laboratory) to house the equipment and to provide the space and safety features required for the experiments. Further, there was often an exposure disparity between material presented by formal lecture and the concepts presented through experiments performed in lengthy lab sessions. However, current

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Goff, R., & Connor, J., & Kampe, J. (2005, June), First Year Hands On Design On A Dime Almost! Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14573

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