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ERIC Number: ED537387
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 2
Engineering Design Challenges in a Science Curriculum
Eisenkraft, Arthur
National Center for Engineering and Technology Education
Create a light and sound show to entertain friends. Design an improved safety device for a car. Develop a 2-3 minute voice-over for a sports clip explaining the physics involved in the sport. Modify the design of a roller coaster to meet the needs of a specific group of riders. Design an appliance package for a family limited by the power and energy of wind generator. Develop a museum exhibit to acquaint visitors with the atom and nucleus and create a product that can be sold at the museum store after visitors leave the exhibit. All of these challenges are part of "Active Physics" (2005), a high school curriculum developed with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), field tested with thousands of students and presently used across the country. The challenges serve as a framing structure for the required science content. Each chapter (approximately five weeks of instruction) is introduced by way of a chapter challenge. In this brief paper, the author will outline the ways in which the chapter challenge is introduced, revisited and then completed. Included in the discussion will be how the chapter challenges are chosen, how to scaffold students' learning so that they can be successful and the benefits of the chapter challenge. "Active Physics" is neither an engineering course nor a technology course. It uses engineering design as a way in which students can approach their chapter challenge, but engineering design must remain in the background of the physics content and curriculum.
National Center for Engineering and Technology Education. c/o Department of Engineering Education Utah State University, 4160 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322. Tel: 435-797-0213; Fax: 435-797-2567; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: National Center for Engineering and Technology Education (NCETE)