Work in progress: Hands-on engineering design activity for first year engineering students using lego pieces

Thomas Jaworski, Ashish Borgaonkar, Jaskirat Sodhi

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Engineering students are required to take several mathematics and science courses along with other general university requirements during their first and second year. They have to wait for several semesters after admission before they get to work on engineering design activities. This can have a demoralizing effect on some students and they may start losing interest in, and passion for engineering. Introductory first-year courses present the perfect opportunity to get students to participate in a hands-on engineering design activity. We developed a concept design activity using Lego pieces to engage students by participating in various stages of engineering product design process. Students were divided into groups of 4 per team and were given 10 regular random Lego pieces. The engineering design activity (labeled as the Widget Activity) was conducted in two parts. In Part one, students were asked to design a product and make a model using the Lego pieces. In Part two, student groups were asked to prepare a list of parts and assembly instructions for their product. All groups then randomly exchanged their widgets with other groups and all groups then tried to put together the widget they received only using the parts list and assembly instructions. Student groups submitted a twopage report highlighting key information about their widget along with a digital design sketch. We timed the groups as they assembled the products and it served as an additional motivation to finish quickly and accurately. The overall Engineering Design activity served several learning outcomes including getting students to work as a team, introduction to product design process, applying problem-solving skills among others. We have assessed the effectiveness of this activity using surveys and focus groups and in the future, hope to expand this initiative to all FED101 sections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jul 24 2018
Event10th Annual First-Year Engineering Experience Conference, FYEE 2018 - Glassboro, United States
Duration: Jul 24 2018Jul 26 2018


Conference10th Annual First-Year Engineering Experience Conference, FYEE 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


  • Engineering design process
  • First year students
  • Lego activity
  • Teamwork


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