Original Paper

Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 1357-1373

First online:

Teaching Engineering Ethics using BLOCKS Game

  • Shiew Wei LauAffiliated withSchool of Engineering and Science, Curtin University Sarawak Malaysia Email author 
  • , Terence Peng Lian TanAffiliated withSchool of Engineering and Science, Curtin University Sarawak Malaysia
  • , Suk Meng GohAffiliated withCurtin Sarawak Research Institute, Curtin University Sarawak Malaysia

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The aim of this study was to investigate the use of a newly developed design game called BLOCKS to stimulate awareness of ethical responsibilities amongst engineering students. The design game was played by seventeen teams of chemical engineering students, with each team having to arrange pieces of colored paper to produce two letters each. Before the end of the game, additional constraints were introduced to the teams such that they faced similar ambiguity in the technical facts that the engineers involved in the Challenger disaster had faced prior to the space shuttle launch. At this stage, the teams had to decide whether to continue with their original design or to develop alternative solutions. After the teams had made their decisions, a video of the Challenger explosion was shown followed by a post-game discussion. The students’ opinion on five Statements on ethics was tracked via a Five-Item Likert survey which was administered three times, before and after the ethical scenario was introduced, and after the video and post-game discussion. The results from this study indicated that the combination of the game and the real-life incident from the video had generally strengthened the students’ opinions of the Statements.


Engineering ethics Design game Video Historical case-scenario