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"Inside The Box: Teaching Engineering Design Through Theatrical Special Effects"

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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

First-Year Design Experiences

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.2.1 - 10.2.12



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Paper Authors

author page

Benjamin Kidd

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P. Paxton Marshall

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

"Inside the Box: Teaching Engineering Design through Theatrical Special Effects" P. Paxton Marshall, Benjamin W. Kidd Charles L. Brown Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Virginia

Abstract In order to stimulate enthusiasm for engineering among its students, and to promote leadership, creativity, resourcefulness, critical thinking, and social consciousness of the impact of engineering, the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) at the University of Virginia (UVA) has undertaken a cluster of curricular enhancements called Engineering in Context (EIC). One aspect of this effort is an expanded first year design experience This experience provides a structured approach to the design process, while allowing the students an opportunity to achieve a substantial and rewarding end product. The aim is to provide open-ended projects that develop students’ engineering skills and also allow them to see more directly the connections between engineering and the larger society around them. Collaborations with fine arts departments provide engineering students the opportunities to address social issues, while developing creativity and technical skills. This paper describes a collaboration with the Drama department to create special effects for student-written and directed plays.

Introduction Engineering is fun. Well, at least it’s supposed to be. Unfortunately, many first- year engineering experiences are mostly work and not much play. The “Inside the Box” project is an attempt to provide a first-year design experience to engineering students at the University of Virginia that draws out student creativity, develops hands-on skills, and is fun.

Kidd, B., & Marshall, P. P. (2005, June), "Inside The Box: Teaching Engineering Design Through Theatrical Special Effects" Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14707

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