Project-Based Learning Incorporating Design and Teaming

Projects that provide inquisitive design and analysis are utilized in a 1st-year engineering and science curriculum at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to introduce students to experimentation, data collection, analysis, technical report writing, and presentation.  Projects allow for construction of numerical models, development of predictions, and corroboration through experimentation.  Currently, four student projects are rotated on a yearly basis and include design of a bungee cord , trebuchet, SEESat, and catapult.  Design parameters include opportunities for student teams to model, test, and modify the system for optimum performance.  Instrumentation for data collection is utilized during the projects providing true integration between experimentation and analysis.  Results indicate students appreciate challenge where there are clearly outlined outcomes and experimentation is performed with informed supervision.  Introduction to both design methodology and empowered self-directed teams is provided through these projects adding value to student learning in the first year.


    To request a reprint of this paper, use the link below after June, 2005.