Design projects in first-year physics

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I use design projects, instead of the typical cookbook exercises, in my first-year physics labs for engineering students. These student-centered projects, which I have developed over the years, require each small group of students to cooperatively (i) design and build simple devices which satisfy constraints, and (ii) design and conduct experiments and analyze data. Examples of the engineering and experiment design projects are given. Student evaluations show that the design projects are significantly more useful than cookbook lab exercises as a resource for learning for engineering students. The evaluations also show that the projects are highly effective in helping students develop some of the generic attributes of an engineering graduate. The projects also helped students develop creative and innovative problem-solving skills, develop critical and logical thinking skills, develop leadership skill, manage time, and understand concepts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514 - 516
Number of pages3
JournalLatin-American Journal of Physics Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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