P. Cyrus, A. Slaby

University of Hradec Kralove (CZECH REPUBLIC)
Project based education (PBL) and structural construction assignments in the scope of PBL play important role in technical education and evolve student abilities in many ways. Special subjects in the curricula named Construction practice exercises and Construction of machines at universities with technical focus that are aimed at developing technical skills and the integration and application of knowledge gained from other specialized theoretical subjects (Technical mechanics, Strength and elasticity, Machine parts, Machinery, Engines, Material and technology) are for this reason included into curricula. They foster creative technical imagination. Construction of some easier components and some selected types of problems can be solved without deeper knowledge gained in the subjects included in higher years of study plan. The proposed student tasks must be of course carefully arranged in sequence from simple to more complex ones. Tasks must be in addition to it selected so that to be understandable for students, modern and last but not least, interesting. The tasks are often inspired by engineering practice offering a lot of examples. The contribution is concerned to this approach to education. It outlines PBL methodology and its use/modification in one example of student construction structural assignment. Framework methodology of PBL distinguishes the following stages of the project solution: problem definition, transformation of customs application requirements to functional requirements -design and implementation requirements, planning – developing a design strategy and making the initial plan, information gathering‚ transformation of functional requirements into physical possibilities of realization ‚ making changes in the initial plan if it is necessary‚ making key design decisions and making symbolic models‚ evaluation of alternatives in terms of advantages, disadvantages, constraints and acceptability of outcomes, evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the conceptual design solutions ‚ selection of the best solution‚ implementation – building prototype and testing the design performance‚ using specificity and advantages of the team work (communication – exchanging information during the whole lifecycle of the project utilizing appropriate forms and formats, documentation – producing usable documents on the design process. The team must consider the following criteria: technical performance, manufacturability, reliability, safety, ergonomics/aesthetics criteria, costs and schedule. Objective of student construction structural assignment mentioned in the article was to design school engine brake for measurement of performance and power of small motorcycle petrol engines. The contribution shows the description of the functional model of laboratory engine brake and life cycle of this project, which was invented, analyzed, designed, developed, manufactured and tested by students of the specialization Technical subjects at the Department of technical subjects of the University Hradec Kralove. The article also outlines the role of teachers and students in various stages of the project.