Mathematical Modeling in Engineering Design Projects

  • Monica E. Cardella
Part of the International Perspectives on the Teaching and Learning of Mathematical Modelling book series (IPTL)


While engineering students are required to complete a number of mathematics courses, some engineering students and practitioners believe that they do not use the mathematics that they learned from their courses in engineering projects. This study investigates engineering students’ use of mathematics through observations of two teams of students working on extensive design projects. The case studies presented in this chapter provide insights into situations when engineering students engage in modeling behavior and also explore ambiguity and precision in engineering design. These insights can inform engineering education as we help engineering students become more aware of the ways that mathematics is used in engineering. Additionally, understanding the ways that mathematics and mathematical thinking is used in professional applications can help us motivate and contextualize mathematics instruction as well as determine what should be taught to students in both college and pre-college settings.


Engineering Education Design Project Mathematical Thinking Engineering Student Daily Schedule 
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This research was made possible in part by National Science Foundation grant SBE-0354453. This work was supported by the National Academy of Engineering’s Center for the Advancement of Scholarship in Engineering Education, the Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching at the University of Washington, and the Center for Design Research at Stanford University and the LIFE (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments) Center.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Engineering EducationPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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