An important aspect of engineering education is introducing students to the design cycle, the iterative series of steps that are followed in developing an engineering solution. Design competitions or challenges are a fun way in which students can gain first-hand experience with the design cycle. Some classic examples of design challenges include the Mouse-Trap Car, the Egg Drop, and the Popsicle Stick Bridge.
As part of my first-year engineering courses at Laurentian University, I have developed a series of new design competitions. Past competitions have included:
- Cup Up and Away 2020
- Squashketball 2019
- Catch Mine Drift 2018
- Ship off the Old Blocks 2017
- Aqua-lug 2016
- Battle Royale Coinsort 2015
- The Hole-Sheet Bang 2014
You can click on the above links to learn more about the specifics of each competition. Common elements include the development or a prototype and final design, as well as the simultaneous optimization for both cost and performance.
Feel free to re-use any of these competitions as part of your own courses. If you do, I’d appreciate it if you would send me an email (email@example.com) to let me know how it went.