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Integrating Science And Math Into The Freshman Engineering Design Course

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Freshman Curriculum Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.701.1 - 7.701.9



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Paper Authors

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Michael Nowak

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Laurence Gould

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Hisham Alnajjar

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Diego Bernardete

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David Pines

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Session 2553

Integrating Science and Math into the Freshman Engineering Design Course

David Pines, Michael Nowak, Hisham Alnajjar / Laurence I. Gould, Diego Bernardete College of Engineering / College of Arts and Sciences University of Hartford


The application of math and science is an essential part of the engineering design process. At the University of Hartford, a freshman integrated learning block was established where engineering faculty teaching the freshman Principles of Design course worked closely with the faculty teaching Calculus and Physics in developing shared outcomes for all three courses. Previously, these courses were taught independent of each other and most students did not recognize the connection between math and science and the design process. Even though group projects in the Principles of Design course promoted creativity and the use of systematic methods for solving problems, there remained a lack of understanding among the students of the linkages of calculus and introductory physics to engineering design. Working as a team, the engineering, physics, and math faculty incorporated the physics and calculus the students were learning that semester into the design projects. These projects were assigned in the freshman design course, but were also discussed in the physics and calculus courses. An internal evaluation of the integrated learning block found that the shared projects were well received and the students gained better understanding of the interrelationship between engineering, physics, and calculus.

I. Introduction

The engineering curriculum at the University of Hartford has been redesigned with the creation of unique course combinations where the faculty from various colleges and departments work together. Engineering and non-engineering courses are combined into groups called integrated learning blocks (ILBs). Two ILBs were incorporated into the common freshman year. The first semester “Principles of Engineering” course that introduces students to the different fields of engineering was integrated with a freshman writing course (Rhetoric, Language and Culture). The second semester “Principles of Design” course was integrated with Physics I and Calculus II. A new engineering design course was created for the sophomore year that was team-taught with an Ethics in the Profession course. Faculty teaching these courses worked together to develop shared activities that reinforced the outcomes common to all of the courses in the ILB.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Nowak, M., & Gould, L., & Alnajjar, H., & Bernardete, D., & Pines, D. (2002, June), Integrating Science And Math Into The Freshman Engineering Design Course Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11323

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