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Peps: An Introduction To Engineering Design For Secondary School Teachers

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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

Pre-College Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.916.1 - 7.916.14



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Paper Authors

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Lori Bassman

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Patrick Little

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

Main Menu Session 3453

PEPS: An Introduction to Engineering Design for Secondary School Teachers

Patrick Little and Lori Bassman Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA


Each summer the Engineering Department at Harvey Mudd College (HMC) conducts Partners in Engineering Problem Solving (PEPS), a workshop for secondary school math and science teachers with the aim of introducing them to the design methodologies used in HMC’s freshman engineering course. That course, Introduction to Engineering Design, and the workshop use studio methods to teach design methodologies, team formation and dynamics, and project management. The five-day workshop brings together teachers from around the United States and immerses them into a hands-on design problem. The ultimate goal of the workshop is to empower educators to develop and apply methods of problem solving and engineering design to open-ended problems in their classrooms. Most of the attendees are selected from schools serving populations traditionally underrepresented in engineering. In addition to exposing the teachers to engineering design methods, the workshop serves to facilitate discussions on how best to attract students into engineering and the sciences.

PEPS was originally developed as an extension of a program at Dartmouth College, and has been significantly modified to use the particular strengths available at HMC. An interesting aspect of PEPS has been its use by HMC faculty to conduct pedagogical experiments that have been later implemented in the college classroom. The workshop has been examined using formal assessment techniques and instruments and appears to be realizing its stated goals.


For the past four years, Harvey Mudd College (HMC) has hosted a workshop for secondary school teachers of math and science. The primary purpose of the workshop is to offer the teachers an introduction to elements of engineering design in a way that will encourage them to incorporate engineering design projects into the high school curriculum. The workshop, Partners in Engineering Problem Solving (PEPS), begins with a hands-on design exercise, and culminates with the participants preparing and presenting lesson plans to be used at their own schools. The workshop utilizes materials from HMC’s first course in engineering, Introduction to Engineering Design (known as “E4”) [1], and is taught in a studio mode [2]. This paper presents some background material on PEPS, including the program’s goals, the current structure of PEPS, a discussion of the assessment procedures used, and some reflections on future directions.

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

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Bassman, L., & Little, P. (2002, June), Peps: An Introduction To Engineering Design For Secondary School Teachers Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10399

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