Engineering Design is one of two science courses for SEA juniors - they take Engineering Design and SEA Chemistry. Unlike SEA Physics and SEA Biology, which are core science courses with engineering applications, Engineering Design is a core engineering course with science applications. Student in Engineering Design learn how to think and work like engineers: solving the same kinds of problems that engineers face, using the same kinds of methods and techniques, and using the same kinds of design tools and software. They also learn to document their work and make technical presentations. For information about course policies and grading, see the Course Syllabus.
Engineering Design students do long-term design projects to put their new engineering skills into practice. Students work in teams and the projects are competitive: they are graded based on how well their projects perform in testing. The best performing projects of all time are recorded for posterity in the Engineering Design Hall of Fame. More information about each project is given in the unit outline below.
WebAssign is an online assignment delivery service that Engineering Design students use for all of their homework. Students get their assignments, submit them, and have them immediately graded on WebAssign. Students also have on-demand access to their current grades on WebAssign.
Students review the Scientific Method and learn the Engineering Analysis and Engineering Design Methods. Students do case studies or mini-projects for each method to see how the method is used. Students also learn how to give oral presentations and give their first formal presentation. Most of this unit is spent learning to use Creo Parametric, a 3D engineering design program that is widely used by professional engineers. The mini-project involves designing a bridge using a simulation program called Bridge Designer. The Mini-Project Performance Scores show how each team's design matched up with the project criteria.
Students learn the physics of structures, and the engineering involved in construction of structures such as bridges and towers. For their design project they create a two-lane road bridge that can hold the largest load for the least cost. Students use Creo Parametric to create their bridge designs and print blueprints, and then construct balsa wood models from their blueprints. They then add loads to their models until they fail so they can see how well their designs work. The Bridge Project Overview gives the constraints and criteria for the project. The Bridge Project Checkpoints show the design reviews students must pass as they develop their designs, and the Bridge Project Progress Chart shows how teams have progressed toward passing those checkpoints. Teams design and build an initial bridge model and test it. Then they redesign to optimize their design, build a final model, and test that. The performance of each model is shown in the Bridge Project Initial Performance and Bridge Project Final Performance. Photos of the teams and the final moments of testing for each model bridge are shown in the Bridge Prototype Photos and Videos and Bridge Final Photos and Videos.
Students learn the physics of rocket flight, and the engineering involved in the construction of rockets. For their design project they create a recoverable, reusable, and inexpensive payload rocket. They first design and test their rockets using simulation software, and then construct models of their designs. They test their models in a series of launches with increasingly heavy payloads and larger engines to see how well their designs work. The Rocket Project Overview gives the constraints and criteria for the project. The Rocket Project Checkpoints show the design reviews students must pass as they develop their designs, and the Rocket Project Progress Chart shows how teams have progressed toward passing those checkpoints. Teams must track all of their expenses on this project, as keeping costs low is one of the criteria for a good design. Their cumulative expenses are shown on the Rocket Project Expenses Spreadsheet. Teams do four separate launches of their models, with time in between each launch to repair and redesign to improve their performance. The performance for each launch is shown in the Launch 1 Performance, Launch 2 Performance, Launch 3 Performance, and Launch 4 Performance. Photos of the teams and some of their launches are shown in the Rocket Photos and Videos.
Students learn the basics of programming using the C++ programming language, and how to program the Arduino, a microprocessor that can control a robot. They construct a few simple robots and program them to perform specific tasks to develop their programming skills. For their design project they create a rescue robot that can autonomously find its way through an entire building assessing a disaster, and then under operator control travel through the building, pick up a disaster victim, and exit the building. They construct and program their rescue robots, and test them in a scale model building to see how well their designs work. The Robot Project Overview gives the constraints and criteria for the project. The Robot Project Checkpoints show the design reviews students must pass as they develop their designs, and the Robot Project Progress shows how teams have progressed toward passing those checkpoints. Teams design and test their robots for both an autonomous task (search) and a driver control task (rescue). The performance of each task is shown in the Autonomous Task Performance and Driver Control Task Performance. Photos of the teams and their robots are shown in Robot Photos.