Improving undergraduate engineering design instruction through lessons learned mentoring FIRST Lego League

Douglas Gabauer, Tim Bayse, Janis P. Terpenny, Richard Goff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Engineering design courses at the undergraduate level pose substantial challenges to novice as well as veteran faculty, especially when implementing open-ended design problems to facilitate student learning. This paper presents a novel perspective on strategies and techniques used to teach undergraduate engineering design based on experience gained from mentoring FIRST Lego League (FLL) teams. FLL is designed to provide children age 9 to 14 with practical, hands-on experience in basic engineering design and computer programming. With guidance from mentors and coaches, teams are tasked with designing, building, and programming Lego® Mindstorms™ robots to perform specific objectives. Judging is based on the performance of the robot, a team presentation, teamwork, and a team discussion regarding the robot design. This paper describes FLL mentoring experience, and paradigms employed by FLL, in the context of teaching engineering design at the undergraduate level. Parallels are drawn between the FLL mentoring experiences and similar problems encountered in project-based undergraduate design courses. Improved teaching and evaluation paradigms are presented with the intent of enhancing the undergraduate design experience. FLL mentoring experience will be presented at two distinct team levels; one at the elementary school and one at the middle school level. Experiences at both levels are discussed with respect to their relevance to undergraduate engineering design and associated strategies that facilitate their implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2007

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Robots
Teaching
Computer programming
Students

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)

Cite this

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Improving undergraduate engineering design instruction through lessons learned mentoring FIRST Lego League. / Gabauer, Douglas; Bayse, Tim; Terpenny, Janis P.; Goff, Richard.

In: ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings, 2007.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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