Activities & Resources

The Problem-Solving Studio (PSS)

The Engineering Unleashed Fellowship is comprised of faculty who were selected by their peers for their contribution to entrepreneurial engineering education. The activities and resources below are from faculty who participated in the Engineering Unleashed Faculty Development National Workshop Program, specifically in the Problem-Solving Studio. This workshop offers both theoretical frameworks and concrete examples for how to design an engaging, interactive learning experience.

The Problem-Solving Studio (PSS)

Systematic Layout Planning: Helping a Small Furniture Manufacturer Grow

Systematic Layout Planning: Helping a Small Furniture Manufacturer Grow, by Durward Sobek

Working in pairs, students are introduced to an owner who wants to grow his company by 25% over the next three years, but feels that he has run out of room in his current factory so has reached production capacity. Students think about the data they will need to help the owner out, approaches to understanding the problem and generating solutions, and how to evaluate and present solutions that maximize stakeholder value. The exercises are intentionally open-ended and ambiguous.
Introduce Students to Numerical Methods with the Hidden Figures Problem Solving Studio

Introduce Students to Numerical Methods with the Hidden Figures Problem Solving Studio, by Lauren Lowman

This module introduces students to Katherine Goble Johnson, one of the NACA mathematicians or "computers" who worked on the calculations for the early U.S. Space Program. In this activity, students apply the method Johnson developed to calculate the burnout position for the capsule. This provides a great opportunity for engineering students to reflect on the human consequences of error. Specifically, this class activity highlights the importance of coding, numerical algorithm development, and supercomputers. We use the Problem Solving Studio approach to keep the students in an interactive mode of learning throughout the activity.
Do the Data Support Climate Change? by Patricia Cyr

Do the Data Support Climate Change? by Patricia Cyr

Engineering students first learning hypothesis testing struggle trying to understand the difference between independent populations and correlated pairs when comparing the means of 2 populations. Here you can provide an experience to compare and contrast the impacts of analyzing data as independent population or as correlated pairs. This activity supports the curiosity about climate change and helps students make the connection between a question and the method to use data to obtain an answer.
Implementing PSS to introductory Physics studio courses at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Implementing PSS to Introductory Physics Studio Courses at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, by Kosta Popovic

Get students involved with a real-world problem in this intro-level group exercise! This card uses an existing case study that focuses on having students make a practical choice between different types of light bulbs while utilizing concepts of Life-Cycle Analysis.
The Problem Solving Studio - Adapted Electronics Problem

The Problem Solving Studio - Adapted Electronics Problem, by Matthew Young

This card describes a multi-week class activity for a junior-level Electronics I course that was delivered using the Problem Solving Studio (PSS) pedagogy. PSS creates a dynamic learning environment where students can practice both engineering mindset and skillset in real-time under the guidance of an instructor or instructors. While students work in teams of 2, called a dyad, they are encouraged to work together to solve a problem that can vary in its difficulty and complexity. The instructor spends time reviewing the work of each student dyad as they progress through a problem.
Do Out of Context Applications Help Student Learning?

Do Out of Context Applications Help Student Learning? by Sabia Abidi

Strengthen student performance by helping them approach concepts outside of the normal class context! This activity was designed asking students in a tissue engineer role to discuss how appropriate or inappropriate the use of a polymer would be for a nerve injury. Through this application oriented, open-ended problem using strategies outlined in the Problem-Solving Studio, students experience a new application perspective with a design focus, ultimately improving their understanding.
Water, M&M, and Basic Principles of Economics, by Gbetonmasse Somasse

Water, M&M, and Basic Principles of Economics, by Gbetonmasse Somasse

Use the 10 basic principles of economics (Mankiw 2017) to analyze the transaction and determine who benefits the most from the transaction.
Everyday I'm Shuffling: System Diagrams, Mathematical Models, and System Response, by Michael De Gregorio

Everyday I'm Shuffling: System Diagrams, Mathematical Models, and System Response, by Michael De Gregorio

This activity was created to confront the troublesome knowledge of diagramming systems. It has been noticed (anecdotally) that students have trouble in coming up with a system diagram if one is not provided. Further, this activity gives students practice in the creation of mathematical models and using state space representation. Once the model is completed, the students will create a simulation of the system via Simscape in order to learn how adjusting the parameters of the system change the output response.