1 University of Cincinnati (UNITED STATES)
2 Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest (IRELAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 421-426
ISBN: 978-84-09-45476-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2022.0144
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Design is a core attribute of engineering practice; in fact, the etymology of the word engineer is traced to the Latin “ingeniare,” which translates as inventor or designer. In order to prepare our students for success in an engineering career, they must be proficient at design and able to think creatively and flexibly about optimal solutions to problems. Additionally, numerous studies have demonstrated the need for well-developed spatial skills for success in engineering, especially in engineering problem solving. Studies also show a link between spatial thinking and technical creativity. The focus of this research is on understanding the relationship between spatial visualization skills and engineering design. As a first phase of testing, 127 undergraduate engineering students completed four tests of spatial ability. In a second phase, 102 students returned and were asked to complete three tasks. The first was designing a ping pong ball launcher to hit a target at a specific height from a given distance. They were then asked to list as many factors as possible that should be considered when designing a retaining wall for mitigating flood damage along the Mississippi River in the Midwest in the United States. The third task was to sketch as many ideas as possible in a given timeframe for a rainwater collection system in a remote location. This research paper will present preliminary analysis of the Midwest Flood problem and spatial ability data. The initial insights will be discussed relative to the overall study and how this work could inform undergraduate engineering education, and specifically the provision of design education.
Spatial Ability, Visualization, Design, Engineering.