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Implementation of Engineering Projects in a High School Anatomy Course (WIP)

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Student Division Technical Session 2

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Paper Authors


Lauren Singelmann North Dakota State University Orcid 16x16

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Lauren Singelmann is a Masters Student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Dakota State University. Her research interests are discovery-based-learning, educational data mining, and K-12 Outreach. She works for the NDSU College of Engineering as the K-12 Outreach Coordinator where she plans and organizes outreach activities and camps for students in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

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Victor E. Trautman


Dan Ewert North Dakota State University

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Dr. Ewert has been involved in cardiovascular engineering for over 25 years in both research and instruction. He has consulted for major medical device companies in the area of cardiovascular engineering and performed research with US and international colleagues. He has a broad background in mechanical and electrical engineering, and physiology with specific training and expertise. His work includes modeling the cardiovascular system, ventricular assist devices, cardiac physiology, instrumentation systems and leadless cardiac pacing. He help developed and was the inaugural director of a project-based-learning engineering curriculum. He is now involved in discovery-based-learning on multi-disciplinary teams.

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Students in a traditional Anatomy classes often spend much of their time memorizing the structure and function of various systems in the human body. Although labs are often implemented, students that hope to enter the medical field often are looking for opportunities to work on engaging problems that will help them develop creative and critical thinking skills that they can use in their future careers. This project focused on implementing engineering projects into an Anatomy 2 course during their cardiovascular system unit in the hopes that the students would recognize the benefits of working on real world problems. A high school anatomy teacher, a graduate student in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and a faculty member in Electrical and Computer Engineering partnered to implement the projects.

At the beginning of the unit, students were given a research topic: comparing mechanical and electrical ways to measure activity of the cardiovascular system. The students were then given a list of lesson topics and labs related to the research topic and were instructed to think about how each topic was related. They then put each of the lessons and labs in order based on how they thought they should learn about them. The students learned about the anatomy and function of the heart in traditional lessons led by their Anatomy 2 teacher, but these lessons were also supplemented with an engineering lab and a final project led by the author, a graduate student in Electrical and Computer Engineering. The engineering lab involved learning basic electronics in order to create a pulse meter with an LED and a photoresistor. Students also learned how to read and use an ECG. At the end of the unit, students participated in a final project where they designed and tested a hypothesis that compared mechanical measurements (pulse meter) and electrical measurements (ECG) when looking at the activity of the cardiovascular system.

All meetings of the class during the cardiovascular unit were videoed so they could be observed. In addition, data were taken at the beginning and end of the to compare attitudes towards the traditional style of teaching and this proposed method. Each student took a pre- and post- survey measuring how much each method benefited them (feeling more prepared for college, enjoying the material, learning about new careers) and cost them (having to put in work outside of class, feeling stressed about completing work, and not feeling comfortable with the teaching style). The success of this approach will be evaluated by comparing pre- and post- test data, as well as by observing student behavior throughout the unit.

Singelmann, L., & Trautman, V. E., & Ewert, D. (2019, June), Implementation of Engineering Projects in a High School Anatomy Course (WIP) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32937

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