Asee peer logo

Incorporating A Team Building Experiment Into A Senior Level Laboratory Course

Download Paper |


2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.349.1 - 5.349.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Craig W. Somerton

Download Paper |

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

Session 3268

Incorporating a Team Building Experiment into a Senior Level Laboratory Course

Craig W. Somerton Department of Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University

I. Introduction

In spring of 1995 Ford Motor Company established a continuous quality improvement (CQI) partnership with the colleges of business and engineering at Michigan State University. To initiate the program, Ford held workshops for the faculty and staff that focused on CQI principles and their implementation. During these workshops there was considerable interaction among personnel from the two organizations. One consistent theme in these discussions was Ford’s desire to have engineers with good teaming skills. The response of one faculty member was the observation that the undergraduate mechanical engineering program at MSU provides numerous teaming opportunities. Students team in all four of the program's required laboratory courses, as well as in the machine design course and the capstone design course. However, even though graduates from this program have several teaming experiences, it was also clear that there was no team training experience. That is, an experience where students learn about how a team functions and how to work effectively on teams. To fill this void, one of the technical experiments in a senior level laboratory course was dropped and replaced by a team building experiment. This development and its results is the focus of this paper.

ME 412, Heat Transfer Laboratory, is a senior level, one credit hour laboratory course. The heat transfer course, ME 410, is a required prerequisite. Most students in the undergraduate program take the course during their last semester. Prior to the introduction of the team building experiment, ME 412 included both a natural convection experiment and a forced convection experiment. Due to the importance that industry is placing on teaming skills (as indicated through the interaction with Ford), it was decided to drop one of these convection experiments, and introduce a team building experiment. The lab course has a one hour lecture session and a two hour laboratory session. Both components are incorporated into the team building experiment. This paper continues by presenting a summary of the lecture component, including an in class team building exercise. Next the team building exercises completed in the two hour laboratory session are discussed. The paper concludes with some observations about these exercises and the students’ response to them.

II. Lecture Component

During the one hour lecture session, a brief introduction is given on teaming. This includes such issues as:

• What is a team? • Why teams?

Somerton, C. W. (2000, June), Incorporating A Team Building Experiment Into A Senior Level Laboratory Course Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8447

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2000 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015