Principles of Engineering Design

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Principles of Engineering Design
Science Course
Course CodeEGRD
Year Opened1996
Sites OfferedBRI, CGV, LAN, LOS, SCZ
Previously OfferedATN, HAV, SUN, EST, HKU, SRF
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Course Description

Humanity’s unending quest to find the most efficient and cost-effective means to make life better has created engineering marvels—from the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, to the world’s fastest commercial train, the Shanghai Maglev. In this course, you and your classmates will work primarily in teams to solve real-world and simulated engineering problems. You’ll use mathematical knowledge, scientific thinking, and engineering design skills while analyzing how composite materials are used to make modern vehicles lighter and stronger; how innovations in energy technology make electric vehicles more efficient and viable; and how bridges are made to withstand extreme stress and wind pressure. You’ll design, construct, and test your own working models and prototypes of amphibious vehicles, solar-powered cars, bridges, or skyscrapers. As part of the engineering design process, you’ll weigh economic and ethical considerations along with technological ones and submit written technical reports, and leave the class with a broader view of the field of engineering and the day-to-day work of engineers.

Class History


EGRD.B.BRI.16.2 knew everyone and had the weirdest inside jokes. ("You're literally 12!", "That sounds like a you problem" - Justin Zhao 2k16, and "PLAY IT SON!" - Haeju.) They played a mean game of 9-square every break. They also liked to carry each other. CAAmper Czar Alfonso would always be carried by Jeff Lin and Enoch Oluwaboro to lunch, dinner, and from night class. They also slapped each other's butts a lot. The girls would slap Imani Barbour and the boys would slap Enoch Oluwaboro.

EGRD.A.BRI.18.1's count off was to "All Star" by Smash Mouth. They played 9-square matches and constantly blasted music from a speaker. Their TA, Mike, took control of night class by repeating, "Guys."

EGRD.B.BRI.18.2 was the best class because of TA Mike.


EGRD.A.SUN.17.2 was taught by David Shaw, an intimidating mechanical engineer, and TAd by Melissa Oberly. The entire course was spent building stuff with balsa wood, with the exception of the first week, which was spent learning physics vocabulary and equations everyone forgot. Since the focus was on building, David had to tell the class how to reach the correct answers to the physics problems on the post test. However, he said he was proud of the students for figuring out how to build functional things that met the challenging criteria and constraints he gave them. This class used so much balsa wood and hot glue that the hot glue ran out by the second week. David had to buy more and repeatedly told students to stop using so much glue.

During work time, the class listened to inordinate amounts of Kidz Bop and watched far too many documentaries about everything from Pripyat/Chernobyl to the Hoover Dam. David also showed and explained many videos of his FIRST robotics team's competitions. Alvin was infamous for throwing things around the classroom, especially a tennis ball, which nearly missed some people's heads and hit one kid in the crotch. Paul's Frisbee was a core source of entertainment during breaks. On one occasion, TA Melissa had to cut a student's hair because their hairdresser accidentally gave them a mini rattail weeks before and nobody noticed until the second week of the session. The class enjoyed attempting to scare David in the stairwells on the way to and from break on the Logan Field, a dangerous activity given that David's fight-or-flight response is to fight. David's grudging tolerance of the class' chaos made it memorable and everyone left the session with odd stories to tell.

EGRD.B.SUN.17.2 did similar projects to the EGRD.A class, but their instructor Michael was an electrical engineer rather than a mechanical engineer (like David, who taught the EGRD.A class) so it was a little different. Their egg drop was replaced by some sort of Pringle protection contraption that students threw around the room to test. While both classes built bridges, this class was allowed to have materials that were significantly easier to work with (e.g. thicker balsa wood and in larger amounts). Both classes built solar cars, but this class used a kit while EGRD.A used whatever was available in their lab (tons of balsa wood and hot glue) The EGRD.B class had a much higher success rate with the cars, but students complained it wasn't as fun. In EGRD.B, everyone made new friends, and Kevin learned a lot of new Chinese swears. Bill loved using his iPad and it got him in trouble. Everyone played a lot of Four Square. Henry's height was insane, while Ryan and Nolan loved playing Pokémon Go. Though walking up the hill was a pain, everyone got to class and learned a lot.

EGRD.SUN.22.1 had a stunning total of nine students, three of which were girls. This was one of the largest classes at the site. Only two students were even somewhat confident on the pre-test due to their prior knowledge of physics. The first instructor mysteriously disappeared after a week or so (presumably due to COVID) and for two days, the TA taught the class until a new instructor appeared. The TA was better than the original instructor at teaching physics. When not learning physics or making things like buildings with running water and electricity, students enjoyed sword-fighting with sticks of balsa. Some students took home balsa "swords" wrapped in electrical tape at the end of the session.