Asee peer logo

Learning Engineering By Product Dissection

Download Paper |


1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.298.1 - 1.298.13



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Vipin Kumar

author page

Miguel Torres

author page

Jens Jorgensen

author page

John Lamancusa

Download Paper |

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

Session 2266

Learning Engineering by Product Dissection

John Lamancusa Miguel Torres Vipin Kumar, Jens Jorgensen Penn State University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez University of Washington

A new multi-disciplinary course in Product Dissection has been developed, distributed electronically, and implemented at Penn State, the University of Washington and the University of Puerto Rico- Mayaguez. The course examines the way in which products and machines work: their physical operation, the manner in which they are constructed, and the design and societal considerations that determine the difference between success and failure in the marketplace. The primary objectives of this course are to develop a basic aptitude for engineering and engineering design, and to develop mental visualization skills; by examination of the design and manufacture of consumer and industrial products. This course is intended to complement engineering science and mathematics courses and to show freshman or sophomore level students how these fundamentals relate to engineering practice. The Engine Dissection course is modular and consists of self-standing dissection modules on: bicycle, electric drill, four stroke engine, Funsaver disposable camera, and telephone. This paper describes the philosophy and content of this course and presents results from two years of development and deployment. Acknowledgement: This project was funded by TRP Project #3018, NSF Award #DMI-9413880.

I. Introduction:

1.1 Engineers are tinkerers A straw poll of engineers who grew up before computers were a fixture in every grade school would probably show that most preceded their technical careers with long hours in the basement or the garage, “fixing” mom’s appliances, wiring a radio that could listen to Europe, or keeping a British sports car in running condition. These tinkerers developed an instinctual, common sense feel for engineering; learned about basic hardware and tools and how to use them; and developed a visual way of thinking. With this solid foundation in hand, an engineering education was the next logical step, adding technical depth and theoretical understanding of the underlying physical principles. Previous physical experiences provided real- life examples which reinforce the theory, enhanced its retention and served as a kind of mental “bookmark”

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Kumar, V., & Torres, M., & Jorgensen, J., & Lamancusa, J. (1996, June), Learning Engineering By Product Dissection Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6162

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: © 1996 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