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This paper describes a cooperative experiential learning activity to develop embedded systems design skills. Student teams design, build, and troubleshoot a microcontroller-based project composed of common embedded systems peripherals, including input/output and electromechanical devices, industry standard communication networks, and complex digital integrated circuits. The design experience is progressive, requiring each successive subsystem to be incorporated without disturbing previously completed subsystems. Furthermore, the design experience is based on a problem-based learning approach that motivates student learning and develops skills required by the student in a future professional capacity. These skills include designing to specification, use of third-party intellectual property, teamwork, communication, and lifelong learning skills. The design experience was offered to a cohort in conjunction with lectures using active learning techniques. Course evaluations were obtained from students and external reviewers, and the results show that the course was well received and achieved its educational objectives.