Asee peer logo

Integrating Courses Through Design Projects In A High School Engineering Summer Program

Download Paper |


2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Ensuring Access to K - 12 Engineering Programs

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.782.1 - 11.782.23



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Amit Nimunkar University of Wisconsin-Madison

visit author page

AMIT J. NIMUNKAR is currently a doctoral student at the Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also a teaching assistant at the Department of Chemistry and worked as a chemistry instructor and curriculum coordinator for the Engineering Summer Program in the College of Engineering. He is pursuing the Delta Certificate in Teaching and Learning.

visit author page

author page

Sandra Courter University of Wisconsin-Madison


GWEN EBERT University of Wisconsin-Madison

visit author page

GWEN EBERT has been the director of Engineering Summer Program for the last five summers. She also coordinates the LEED Scholars ( Leaders in Engineering Excellence and Diversity) program for undergraduate engineering students. With the UW-Madison’s CoE Diversity Affairs Office team, she works to attract, recruit and retain undergraduate engineering students from underrepresented groups through scholarships, advising and academic support.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Integrating Courses through Design Projects in a High School Engineering Summer Program Abstract:

Introducing real-life engineering design projects and integrating five courses into the Engineering Summer Program (ESP) for high school students made a difference in student learning, according to data collected during the summer, 2005. While the program at University of Wisconsin – Madison has existed since 1977, 2005 was the first summer that integration through engineering design was a central theme. The goal was to encourage the eighteen students to better appreciate a) why their math, chemistry, physics, technical communication and introduction to engineering courses are important in engineering studies and b) how these courses work together to help students develop engineering skills. Assessment instruments included beginning, middle, and end-of-design experience questionnaires, videotapes of student presentations, and a reflective letter to their parents. Through the data collected, the paper answers the following questions: a) Are real-life student design projects an effective means of integrating different courses? b) Did the real-life student design projects provide better student understanding of engineering in general? c) Did the exercise of designing and presenting projects, stimulate student interest in science and engineering careers? This pilot assessment plan will be used to improve the program as well as to assess student learning even more effectively during 2006. The paper describes a brief background of ESP, each of the five courses, the design projects, the assessment instruments, the results and analysis, and recommendations for the 2006 Engineering Summer Program.

Program Overview: Engineering Summer Program (ESP)

The University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering hosts ESP, a seven-week residential program for high school sophomores and juniors. It is a pre-college educational enhancement outreach—a summer bridge program for underrepresented high school students. The ESP program is the oldest of the diversity programs in the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It has served as the primary recruitment tool for the college for more than twenty years. The goal for ESP is to prepare high school students for college study in the field of engineering and science, and to attract these students to the UW-Madison. The program targets students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds including African American, Latino, Native American, Cambodian, Laotian, Hmong or Vietnamese. We also select female students who would be first generation college students.

The students are exposed to basic foundational courses that are fundamental to the engineering discipline: pre-calculus or calculus depending on the background of the student, physics, chemistry, computer science, and technical writing. Students are exposed to various engineering fields through short discipline specific laboratories and faculty presentations in a course called Introduction to Engineering. Approximately two to three industry tours are planned during the course of the summer, so that students can see engineering in action. Companies that have offered tours in the past are Kimberly Clark, General Motors in Janesville, Harley Davidson and GE Medical Systems. Refer to Appendix A for the program description sent to the students.

Nimunkar, A., & Courter, S., & EBERT, G. (2006, June), Integrating Courses Through Design Projects In A High School Engineering Summer Program Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--349

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: © 2006 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