Enhancing Engineering Education with Computational Thinking

This project investigates the educational value of computer technologies for learning engineering. The project engages high school students to design, build, and evaluate an energy-efficient model house with the aid of computer simulation and design tools. 

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Sun Associates
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This project investigates the educational value of computer technologies for learning engineering. The project engages high school students to design, build, and evaluate an energy-efficient model house with the aid of computer simulation and design tools. The project will test the assertion that simulations and hands-on projects are mutually beneficial. The project has developed a computational fluid dynamics simulation tool called Energy2D that teaches heat transfer concepts, as well as a computer-aided design and fabrication tool called Energy3D that supports the full cycle of engineering practices. A comprehensive curriculum book "Engineering Energy Efficiency" has been developed to challenge students to use the tools to improve the energy performances of their model houses step by step, allowing students to learn and apply science to solving engineering problems.

Two rounds of pilot tests have been conducted to test our materials and research instruments. A large-scale research study involving about 250 students is currently underway to investigate the effects of Energy2D and Energy3D in fostering learning. Our study focuses primarily on two areas: a) Do the computer tools increase learning of science concepts and engineering design? b) How well can students apply science to engineering? The data we are collecting includes a wide range of sources such as pre/post tests, embedded assessments, student artifacts, reports, presentations, and teacher opinions. We are in the process of synthesizing and analyzing these data to provide a high-definition lens for viewing into student learning processes.

Project Materials

Title Type Post date
Enhancing Engineering Education with Computational Thinking Poster 06/21/2012 - 3:26pm