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Breaking the ice with prospective students: a team-based design activity to introduce active learning

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3 Author(s)
Frey, D.D. ; Olin Coll. of Eng., Needham Heights, MA, USA ; Horton, A. ; Somerville, M.

This paper discusses a short, team-based design activity that is simple to reproduce at any college. The activity involves designing and building structures from expanded polystyrene foam boards. Hot wire cutters allow students easily and safely to cut the foam into myriad shapes. After a one or two-hour period for design, manufacture, and test, there is a short period for construction. The activity has been used as part of recruitment and admissions process at Olin College. The activity is described in sufficient detail to allow others to reproduce it including an equipment and materials list and a suggested set of instructions. The results of the activity are discussed. The student teams generated a wide variety of structures and employed many different building strategies. The activity seems to promote a sense of comradry among the candidates as well as excitement about active learning methods.

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Frontiers in Education, 2002. FIE 2002. 32nd Annual  (Volume:1 )

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