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This paper presents an integration of a loosely defined design project in an introductory electrical engineering course. The proposed project aims to introduce first-year engineering students to the world of electrical engineering and develop their general engineering skills. Because of its innovative and unconventional nature, a Rube Goldberg machine has been used as the project vehicle. In the project, students have been asked to design the machine with electrical sensors and actuators. Connected learning and assessment activities have been designed to engage students in deep understanding. Students thought the project was challenging, and could develop their technical skills and creativity.