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Background: Striving to instill a greater sense of Curiosity, one of the three Cs of the Kern Engineering Entrepreneurial Network (KEEN) Entrepreneurial Mindset (EM), we enhanced our existing project-based learning approach in an undergraduate engineering statics course.
Purpose / Hypothesis: To strengthen students Curiosity in the field of engineering, we had students reverse engineer a common handheld power tool. In the Statics course, detailed herein, students focus solely on the hard drill carrying case.
Design / Method: While several classes had projects in the past, a new integrated approach was employed to enhance the connections between students in other courses. Our Integrated Projects linked distinct courses together in customer-supplier relationships as found in industry, building on the spirit of interdisciplinary projects. Thus, the Statics course student teams served, individually, as a supplier for a corresponding mechanical design team working on the drill body, a circuits teams responsible for the battery & charger, as well as the graduate teams that were creating the layout and business plan for the entire complete drill set.
Results: Findings suggest that students Curiosity of engineering was dramatically increasingly because they had to apply the principles and practices of Statics to a product that they were holding in their hands. The abstract, theoretical concepts taught in class are now physically tangible through direct application. Data from this preliminary study is not tabulated herein.
Conclusions: While much is celebrated about interdisciplinary projects, the vastly differing course objectives can sometimes become roadblocks to successful collaborations. However, Integrated Projects allows student distinct teams from different courses to work on the same unifying item while analyzing the product’s components with the tools and techniques of the specific subject matter.


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