Published: Feb. 14, 2018 By

An inclusive classroom means that all students are engaged in the learning process, and this engagement can lead to better retention and better engineers. What better way to engage students than with examples that have relevance! For example, I still remember my fluid mechanics professor coming in spitting mad about being blown over in one of our famous Boulder windstorms – and the whole class having to calculate the force generated by that fierce wind. That real example – and the image of our esteemed professor tipping over – led to us actively interacting with him and each other to understand that problem. 

The good news is that you don’t have to create an entire new set of your own examples. Check out the Everyday Examples in Engineering (E3s) from the NSF project called Engage Engineering. These examples work to retain students because:

  • E³s are examples that are relevant and familiar to students.
  • E³s highlight simple and complex ways that engineers help society.
  • E³s increase student engagement and retention of engineering and computer science students.
  • E³s can be used in large classes.
  • E³s are effective among all groups of students.

You can find a whole host of examples including easy-to-implement lesson plans from the E3s robust resources site. Additionally, faculty like you have submitted lesson plans from some of their favorite examples that use the Statue of Liberty, a figure skater’s spin or a wet dog’s shaking action. 

And, by the way, effective work in the K-12 community is helping with our goals of achieving gender and ethnic parity in engineering. Read about four leaders who are contributing their knowledge and actions to inspire that next generation of engineers.