Materials selection and evaluation is an integral aspect of the Engineering Design Process and an essential skill for the practicing engineer. Materials and their associated processing and forming methods serve to both enable and limit product design and performance. The current work presents the use of guided case studies as an approach to achieve a design-centric laboratory experience. The developed case study employed in the current investigation is the selection of sustainable materials for single use beverage containers. The learning outcomes of this approach were evaluated by surveys administered to two different groups of students: one group participating in the case study (intervention) and other participating in the pre-existing materials processing laboratory investigations (control) at two matched time points during the same semester. The initial self-assessment was administered before the three week case study intervention and the second survey was administered after the conclusion of the three week case study. Statistical analyses of survey results reveal significant difference between the two groups, in that students in the case study (intervention) group reported significant new learning in their ability to “design a materials specification” between the initial and final time points.
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