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Get ‘Em While They’re Young – Integrated Engineering For Freshmen

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

State of the Art in Freshman Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.638.1 - 9.638.11



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Paper Authors

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Steven Brandt

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David Hansen

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Steven Kuennen

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Pamela Neal

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Cary Fisher

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

GET ‘EM WHILE THEY’RE YOUNG! Integrated Engineering for Freshmen

Dr. Steven A. Brandt1, Col. Cary A. Fisher2, LtCol. David S. Hansen3, LtCol. Steven T. Kuennen4, Maj. Pamela J. Neal5

United States Air Force Academy Engineering Division 2354 Fairchild Drive, Suite 6L-155 USAF Academy, CO 80840-6240

Abstract Nothing captures the imagination more than a hands-on, highly-relevant and interactive experience. This paper will describe Engineering 100 at the US Air Force Academy, a new freshman core course designed to introduce and motivate first-year students towards the engineering fields. Cadets are introduced to five engineering disciplines: aeronautical, astronautical, electrical, mechanical, and civil. By the end of the course, emphasizing just-in-time teaching and learning, the students will use each discipline to design, build, and fly a boost glider (modified model airplane) of their own creation. They use aeronautical engineering o to design the plane, astronautical engineering to launch it (using a rocket motor), electrical engineering to control it during flight, mechanical engineering to employ sturdy construction techniques, and civil engineering to build an appropriate launching pad. Emphasis is on real-world design, a systems approach to project management, and close interaction with faculty serving as coaches and mentors.

This course’s organizing project gives plenty of opportunity for creativity and enough breadth to touch on all appropriate disciplines. Students are organized in small problem-solving design teams. Traditional lectures and evaluations are replaced with web-based instruction and hands-on projects. Computer tools are employed where appropriate, and students are evaluated on both individual comprehension and group execution of the project. Throughout the semester, design teams deliver two oral presentations and a final written report.

The course gives students early experience wrestling with challenging educational outcomes; students apply the systems engineering approach, frame and resolve ill-defined problems, use technology, exercise their intellectual curiosity, work with others, and communicate orally and in writing. Various assessment methods aid the instructors in determining course effectiveness, student comprehension, and student motivation toward pursuing engineering degrees.

What? Another Freshman Intro to Engineering Course? Wait! Before tossing this paper aside, this brand-new freshman “Introduction to Engineering Systems” (Engineering 100) course really works. Here are some of the distinctive aspects of the course:

1 Department of Astronautical Engineering, 2 Department of Engineering Mechanics, 3 Department of Engineering Mechanics, 4 Department of Civil Engineering, 5 Department of Electrical Engineering,


Brandt, S., & Hansen, D., & Kuennen, S., & Neal, P., & Fisher, C. (2004, June), Get ‘Em While They’re Young – Integrated Engineering For Freshmen Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13778

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