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Who Wants To Be An Engineer? Or Better Teaching Through Game Shows

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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

Tools of Teaching

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1317.1 - 7.1317.10



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Paper Authors

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Robert Carpick

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

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Session 1630

Who Wants to be an Engineer? -or- Better Teaching through Game Shows

Robert W. Carpick

Dept. of Engineering Physics, Engineering Mechanics Program University of Wisconsin - Madison


A 50 (or 60 or 70) -minute lecture is inherently incompatible with the typical attention spans of students. The author has developed a teaching technique that successfully re-captures attention in the classroom. The technique, loosely based on a popular prime-time game show, consists of quizzing a student “on the spot” while allowing a “life-line” of polling the audience for help. The game is enjoyable for students and professor alike, but also allows review, clarification, and reinforcement of concepts. The technique is effective while only requiring minimal preparation and lecture time to be implemented.

I. Introduction

Consider a typical lecture course in engineering. For fifty to seventy minutes, a group of students will sit in one place listening, taking notes, occasionally asking questions. Some students will be paying attention, others’ attention will be wandering, and some may be sound asleep.

Many engineering instructors have developed and implemented a range of active learning techniques that are integrated into their lectures. In these cases, students are much more actively engaged, through partner or group discussion, writing, and problem solving for example. The positive benefits of active learning approaches have been documented in many studies and books1. Within the context of a typical engineering curriculum, the use of active learning techniques often requires careful balancing against the need to cover a demanding range of course material in a limited amount of time. As well, there are varying levels of experience, comfort, and preparation required of the instructor to effectively implement different active learning techniques on a regular basis.

In this paper the author describes a particular active learning technique that he has found to be quick to prepare, easy and fun to implement, appreciated and enjoyed by the students, and effective at both recapturing student attention and promoting the understanding of concepts

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

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Carpick, R. (2002, June), Who Wants To Be An Engineer? Or Better Teaching Through Game Shows Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11090

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