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The Creation Of A Cost Effective Intercollegiate Design Contest: The Human Powered Paper Vehicle Contest

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Experiences with Experiential Learning

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1269.1 - 10.1269.12



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Paper Authors

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Keith Turpin

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Donald Richter

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William Loendorf

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

Session 3648

The Creation of a Cost Effective Intercollegiate Design Contest: The Human Powered Paper Vehicle Contest

Donald Richter & William Loendorf Eastern Washington University School of Computing and Engineering Sciences Department of Engineering and Design

Keith Turpin The Boeing Company


Engineering Education should include the opportunity for students to apply the engineering skills they are acquiring in a practical application to reinforce and expand their learning process. Ideally this experience should also be designed to include team building and communication skills. One mechanism traditionally used in Engineering Education to accomplish this goal is a design contest involving teams from different colleges and universities.

However, there are limiting factors inherent in these design contests. The first is the cost of designing and building a device for the event. To field a competitive team, cost can easily range from hundreds to thousands of dollars for materials and travel expenses. This is a significant obstacle to participation for many schools, particularly with today’s shrinking departmental budgets. In addition, due to this high cost, the college or university is usually limited to sponsoring one or at most two teams. This contributes to the second limiting factor of access and inclusiveness for students interested in participating. There is also a question on how freshman and sophomore students can contribute to the team or even become a team member. Due to the limited number of students that can participate on the “one” team, junior and senior engineering students are typically selected because they have completed more engineering courses. This does not help to promote the retention of freshman and sophomore students in the engineering disciplines. Rather the inclusion of beginning students would offer them a true practical engineering experience to keep them motivated and interested in completing their engineering education. But how can this dilemma be resolved?

Eastern Washington University has created a Human Powered Paper Vehicle (HPPV) Contest to meet these challenges in the confines of an intercollegiate design competition. This paper describes how the contest has solved both the cost issue as well as participation by freshman and sophomore engineering students. In addition, the history, rules, results, and lessons learned from hosting this annual event are discussed. The success of the HPPV contest in meeting the above Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Turpin, K., & Richter, D., & Loendorf, W. (2005, June), The Creation Of A Cost Effective Intercollegiate Design Contest: The Human Powered Paper Vehicle Contest Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14260

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