Creative Engineering Design 2023-2024 Pilot at DSST Elevate

Event Type Other -- please specify below
Is this event (co-)sponsored by ASPIRE? Yes
Is this event innovation focused? No
Event Name CED 2023-2024 Pilot
Event Location Denver, CO
Event Start Date 09/01/2023
Event End Date 12/20/2023
Number of Attendees 41
Number of Student Attendees 40
Number of Teacher/Faculty Attendees 1
Which project does this pertain to? Learning and Engagement
Presentation Title or Topic 2 classes at DSST Elevate HS piloted CED during the 2023-2024 school year.
Presenters Jennifer Taylor
Abstract: --
Associated Image(s) --
Relevant links to online folders with additional materials and/or social media postings
"Shout-outs"/Achievements --
Additional Information

NSF ASPIRE Engineering Research Center

Creative Engineering Design Engineering High School Course Pilot

Creative Engineering Design is an introductory-level, project-based learning (PBL) high school course that explores engineering concepts and real-world engineering applications through the lens of sustainable electric vehicle (EV) technology.

The course aims to broaden students’ understanding and interest in engineering through the innovative work of the ASPIRE Engineering Research Center team whose goal is to develop and implement sustainable widespread roadway electrification that is accessible and equitable for all communities.

Creative Engineering Design targets 9th and 10th graders, especially those from underrepresented and underserved communities, and offers a flexible instructional schedule (e.g. trimester, semester, year-long). The course integrates both affordable low- and high-tech engineering elements components to bring engineering to life for students.

The content areas of Creative Engineering Design embed the engineering design process, engineering skills (basic CAD, circuits & motors), and transportation-related environmental justice themes (air quality, pollution, public health), which culminate in a team-based model EV final design challenge. The goal of Creative Engineering Design is to build students’ knowledge and understanding of the inter-relationships between engineering concepts, environmental justice, and the challenges and benefits of widespread EV adoption.

It is envisioned that Creative Engineering Design will foster pre-college engineering literacy for a wide range of students, and perhaps unlock previously unknown interests in engineering to help pave the way for future engineers and STEM leaders who envision themselves changing the world for the better.

During the 2021-22 school year, two DSST Public High Schools in Denver partnered with the University of Colorado Boulder’s Integrated Teaching and Learning Program (ITLP), based in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, to pilot Creative Engineering Design.

For the 2022-23 school year, the course was piloted at DSST Elevate and Byers HS in Denver, CO, and at two other ASPIRE-partnering high schools including El Paso Leadership Academy in El Paso, TX, and at InTech Collegiate Academy in Logan, UT. The final pilot program will take place during the 2023-24 school year at the following piloting schools: DSST Elevate, Denver, CO, Loretto Academy and Cathedral HS in El Paso, TX, Logan High School, Logan, UT, and Purdue Polytechnic High School Englewood and North campuses in Indianapolis, IN. Though the course is designed at an introductory level, piloting teachers have adapted the course for advanced-level engineering courses. 

The Creative Engineering Design course is funded by the NSF in support of the Engineering Workforce Development goals of the NSF ASPIRE Engineering Research Center (see the ASPIRE video for more background information, all ASPIRE educational resources will be published on the TeachEngineering ASPIRE Curricula Hub).


Creative Engineering Design Course Overview
Module Content & Learning Objectives Activities
1 Engineering Design Challenges What is Engineering? Quick Design Challenges:

  • What is Engineering? video
  • TE Leaning Tower of Pasta 
  • Paper Towers
  • TE Straw Bridges
  • TE Egg Drop options
2 Engineering Design Process EDP Cycle: Car Safety Design Crash Test

  • Step 1: ID Need
  • Step 2: Research
  • Step 3: Brainstorm
  • EDP Cycle

EDP Cycle: Car Safety Design Crash Test

  • Step 4: Select Solution
  • Step 5 & 6: Create & Test 
  • Step 7: Improve/Redesign
  • Design Thinking Skills (poster & handout)
3 Mousetrap Car Design Project Individual Student Introductory Design Project (embed EDP & Design Thinking):

  • Mousetrap Car (or Cardboard Racer)
4 Engineering & Environment and CAD Workshop
  • Carbon Footprints & Transportation
  • Vehicle Fuels Debate
  • Introduction to Tinkercad 3D workshop
  • EJ StoryMap #1 What is air quality and why does it matter?
  • EJ StoryMap #2 How does poor air quality affect our health?
5 Engineering & Environment and EV Motor Workshop
  • Introduction to Circuits & Motors workshop
  • EJ StoryMap #3 Are air quality and transportation impacts equitable?
  • EJ StoryMap #4 How does transportation affect the environment?
  • EJ StoryMap #5 How do electric batteries impact our world?
6 Creative Engineering EV Design Challenge Team EV Final Design Project (design-build-test-iterate):

  • Step 1: ID Need for EVs
  • Step 2: Research EVs
  • Step 3: Brainstorm EV prototype designs

Team EV Final Design Project (design-build-test-iterate):

  • EV motor & battery pack workshop
  • Step 4: Select the final EV Design

Team EV Final Design Project (design-build-test-iterate):

  • Step 5: Create/Build model EV

Team EV Final Design Project (design-build-test-iterate):

  • Step 6: Test model EV
  • Step 7: Redesign model EV

Final Project EV Design Expo:

  • Expo Event prep
  • EVs and Environmental Justice Expo Team Presentations