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Integrating Design, Analysis, And Problem Solving In An Introduction To Engineering Curriculum For High School Students

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.350.1 - 3.350.14



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Paper Authors

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Alice Agogino

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Ann McKenna

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

Session 1280

Integrating Design, Analysis, and Problem Solving in an Introduction to Engineering Curriculum for High School Students

Ann McKenna and Alice Agogino

Graduate Group in Engineering, Science and Mathematics Education/ Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California at Berkeley, CA 94720


The current paper describes an Introduction to Engineering class that was taught to a group of high school students in the summer of 1997. The class was offered through an outreach program at the University of California at Berkeley called the Academic Talent Development Program (ATDP), and was designed to give students an overview of the diverse field of engineering. In order to learn what engineers actually do, the students engaged in a variety of projects and hands- on activities to find out how things work and to practice their own engineering skills. This paper will provide an overview of the syllabus and goals of the course. Specific activities and design projects will also be documented such as the mechanical and computer engineering design challenges, teamwork and student presentations, and the on-line web-based assignments. Detailed examples of student work and student feedback will be reported. The quality of student work, as well as the positive feedback about the class, indicates that these high school students were not only motivated by the subject matter but were also capable of fundamental engineering design and problem solving.

I. Introduction

Over the past few decades our society has become increasingly technologically advanced. This societal change has required a more technologically savvy workforce and has produced an increasing demand for skills such as a capacity with open-ended problem solving, a facility with computers, an ability to manage and make sense of large amounts of data and information, and an ability to work in interdisciplinary teams to solve increasingly complex problems. Since these are skills that are typically associated with the practice of engineering, there has been a great deal of interest in introducing engineering to students at the pre-college level. Introducing the practice of engineering to students earlier in their career may potentially provide them with a head-start on the abilities they will need to be competitive in the workplace.

The Introduction to Engineering course described in this paper was developed to meet the growing interest for pre-engineering curricula appropriate for high school students. The course was designed to combine engineering skills and content with a firm pedagogical and instructional foundation. The main goals of the course are to familiarize students with the practice of


Agogino, A., & McKenna, A. (1998, June), Integrating Design, Analysis, And Problem Solving In An Introduction To Engineering Curriculum For High School Students Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7210

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