Asee peer logo

Materials Selection Exercises Based On Current Events

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Teaching Methods for the 21st Century: Part 2

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1038.1 - 12.1038.18



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Mary Vollaro Western New England College

visit author page

Mary B. Vollaro is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts. Dr. Vollaro received her Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut and she has held engineering positions in industry in the materials science area. She is currently Chair of the ASEE Materials Division and works closely with longtime ASEE partners, The National Educators Workshop (NEW).

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Materials Selection Exercises based on Current Events

Abstract Issues relating to a wide range of consumer and industrial products appear in newspaper articles and on a variety of television shows, every day. These exercises were developed to give engineering students a societal and global perspective on technical problems important to the general public. Beginning with the concerns brought to light in a newspaper article, students employed their knowledge of material selection methodology and engineering principles to investigate the implication of the choice of materials. The CES EduPack 2005 Materials Selection software is utilized as the primary tool to provide the technical support for their analysis, conclusions, and comments. The general format of the exercises presented here includes the task outline, materials selection techniques, specifications for oral and written assignments, and the in-class activities and discussions. The exercises were implemented based on two newspaper headlines, “Marines Say Body Armor Too Heavy” and “Mission: Design Better (Space) Gloves”. Samples of student work highlighted the different skill levels of achieved by students applying the techniques of material selection, as well as, the unique perspective of individual students to solving and/or commenting on these open end problems. With their ability to share results through presentations, students were teaching students. The peer evaluations developed a positive classroom environment promoting creativity and improvement in the technical content of subsequent projects. Students began to see the connections between the public concerns and opinions, and their role as engineers in the design, development or manufacture of a product. The possibilities for media examples are endless and provide students and faculty with a wide range of ideas to promote interest, motivation and a learning opportunity for today’s engineering student.

Introduction Do we take the material of a product for granted, or do we look at a product and remember what it used to be made of? Do we ever stop to think about what our daily lives would be like if scientists hadn’t explored the properties of silicon or polymers? Do we realize materials and the importance of materials selection touches our lives everyday through the mass media? Most technically oriented people, including engineering students and faculty, enjoy watching

Vollaro, M. (2007, June), Materials Selection Exercises Based On Current Events Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2537

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: © 2007 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