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Thinking Like an Engineer An Active Learning Approach

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Spiral Bound
  • Copyright: 2017-01-22
  • Publisher: Pearson
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


For Introduction to engineering courses.


Inspire self-guided inquiry with an active learning model

Thinking Like an Engineer: An Active Learning Approach, 4th Edition is designed to facilitate an active learning environment for first year engineering courses. The authors incorporate a model of learning that encourages self-guided inquiry and advances students beyond “plug-and-chug” and memorization of problem-solving methods. Checkpoints throughout each chapter provide worked out problem sets for students to solve using their own logic, before they are ready to tackle more difficult problems. An emphasis on reading and practice before class prepares students for in-class activities that reinforce the chapter’s material. Students arrive prepared for class, allowing instructors to spend class time focusing on active learning through collaborative problem-solving, computer-based activities, and hands-on experiments that encourage guided inquiry. The 4th Edition provides new material and revisions based on input from instructors and students, as well as current software releases.


Also available with MyLab Engineering.

MyLab Engineering is an online homework, tutorial, and assessment program that truly engages students as it offers customized, self-paced learning with instant feedback. MyLab Engineering gives students unlimited opportunity for practice with feedback and help when they need it most.  Students will be prepared ahead of class, allowing you to spend class time focusing on active learning.

Note: You are purchasing a standalone product; MyLab Engineering does not come packaged with this content. Students, if interested in purchasing this title with MyLab Engineering, ask your instructor for the correct package ISBN and Course ID. Instructors, contact your Pearson representative for more information.


If you would like to purchase both the physical text and MyLab Engineering, search for:


0134642252 / 9780134642253 Thinking Like an Engineer: An Active Learning Approach Plus MyLab Enginerring -- Access Card Package


Package consists of:

  • 0134609875 / 9780134609874 MyLab Engineering with Pearson eText -- Access Card -- for Thinking Like an Engineer: An Active Learning Approach
  • 0134639677 / 9780134639673 Thinking Like an Engineer: An Active Learning Approach


Students can use the URL and phone number below to help answer their questions:






Author Biography

Elizabeth A. Stephan is the Director of the General Engineering Program at Clemson University.  She earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron.  During her undergraduate work, she completed a cooperative education experience with Dow Chemical in Midland, MI, conducted research on coal purification methods, and was named the College of Engineering Outstanding Senior.  After graduation, she was employed by Boride, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical in Traverse City, MI, specializing in high-performance ceramics.  She returned to The University of Akron on a College of Engineering Fellowship, earning her PhD in Chemical Engineering focusing on multiphase transport processes.  She has taught at The University of Akron and Wayne College, and served in several postdoctoral positions.  She joined the faculty at Clemson in January, 2002 in the General Engineering Program, assuming the role of Director in 2007.  Beth has served as a national official as a district director in Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, since 1996.  She is the chief advisor for the South Carolina Alpha Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, and an advisor for the Clemson chapter of Alpha Omega Epsilon, a professional sorority.


David R. Bowman has been teaching in the General Engineering Program at Clemson University since January, 2006.  He earned his degrees from Clemson University, including a BS and MS in Computer Engineering and is currently pursuing a PhD.  A member of ASEE, David has experience in the design and development of software tools for engineering education research and pedagogy.  During his undergraduate and graduate work, David hosted All Screams Considered, an award winning radio show on WSBF-FM, whose name apes the popular NPR program All Things Considered.  In addition to broadcasting, David enjoys performing music on acoustic, electric, and bass guitars.


William J. Park is currently an associate professor in the Engineering and Science Education Department at Clemson University. Following a few years as a cattle farmer, he completed three degrees at Clemson University:  a BS in Ornamental Horticulture with a particular emphasis on xerophytic plants, an MS in Electrical Engineering focusing on electronic music synthesis, and a PhD in Electrical Engineering conducting research in electronic countermeasures. Bill is currently faculty advisor for a student team renovating a very large 1970’s vintage electronic organ, and is a moderately accomplished pianist.


Benjamin L. Sill is Alumni Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering, having retired in 2008 after 32 years at Clemson University. He earned a BS and MS from N.C. State University in Aerospace Engineering and a PhD from Virginia Tech in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering. Before he joined Clemson, Ben was employed by the Naval Ordnance Station, Indian Head, MD, and by Duke Power Company, Charlotte, NC. At Clemson, he was a founder of Clemson’s Wind Load Test Facility. Beginning in 1999 he served as the Director of Clemson’s General Engineering Program. In 2007, he helped establish a new Engineering and Science Education Department at Clemson, and served as its chair until his retirement.  He is the recipient of numerous teaching and research awards, including the prestigious Clemson Class of 1939 Award.  Outside the university, he gives numerous presentations with topics ranging from humorous to educational — including talks on ancient coins, old maps, wildflowers, houseplants, snakes, birds, and hurricanes. Ben has authored three bird books, has published technical articles on snakes, frogs, fish, volleyball, and bromeliads and has created and registered many new bromeliad hybrids.


Matthew W. Ohland is currently an associate professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.  He earned a BS in Engineering and a BA in Religion from Swarthmore College, MS degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida. Matt was an NSF postdoctoral fellow for science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education and joined the faculty of General Engineering at Clemson University in 2001.  In 2006, he joined the faculty at Purdue University. He was the 2002-2006 National President of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society.  He currently serves as the Chair of the Educational Research and Methods division and an ABET Program Evaluator for the American Society of Engineering Education, on the Administrative Committee of the IEEE Education Society, and as the Chair of the Steering Committee of the IEEE Transactions on Learning Technology.



Table of Contents

Part 1

Engineering Essentials  

Engineering is an . . . Itch!

Chapter 1

Everyday Engineering  

1.1 Choosing a Career  

1.2 Choosing Engineering as a Career  

1.3 NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering  

1.4 Choosing a Specific Engineering Field  

1.5 Engineering Technology–A Related Field

1.6 Gathering Information  

1.7 Pursuing Student Opportunities  

Review Questions  


Chapter 2


2.1 Ethical Decision Making  

2.2 Plagiarism  

2.3 Engineering Creed  

2.4 Social Responsibility  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  


Chapter 3

Design, Teamwork, and Project Management  

3.1 Design Processes  

3.2 Defining the Problem or Need  

3.3 Criteria: Defining What Is Important  

3.4 Generating Ideas  

3.5 Comparing Designs and Making Decisions

3.6 Prototyping and Testing  

3.7 Sustainability–A Special Design Criterion  

3.8 Working in Teams  

3.9 Experimental Design: PERIOD Analysis  

3.10 Project Timeline  

3.11 Modern Project Management  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  

Mini Design Projects  


Chapter 4

Engineering Communication  

4.1 Basic Presentation Skills  

4.2 Sample Presentations  

4.3 Basic Technical Writing Skills  

4.4 Common Technical Communication Formats  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  


Chapter 5


5.1 General Hints for Estimation  

5.2 Estimation by Analogy  

5.3 Estimation by Aggregation  

5.4 Estimation by Upper and Lower Bounds  

5.5 Estimation Using Modeling  

5.6 Significant Figures  

5.7 Reasonableness  

5.8 Notation  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  

Chapter 6

Solving Problems       

6.1 Problem Types  

6.2 SOLVEM–One Approach to Solving Problems  

6.3 Representing Final Results  

6.4 Avoiding Common Mistakes  

6.5 Examples of SOLVEM  

Review Questions  

Part 2

Ubiquitous Units  

Chapter 7

Fundamental Dimensions and Base Units    

7.1 The Metric System  

7.2 Other Unit Systems  

7.3 Conversion Procedure for Units  

7.4 Conversions Involving Multiple Steps  

7.5 Conversions Involving “New” Units  

7.6 Derived Dimensions and Units  

7.7 Equation Laws  

7.8 Conversion Involving Equations  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  


Chapter 8

Universal Units          

8.1 Force  

8.2 Weight  

8.3 Density  

8.4 Amount  

8.5 Temperature  

8.6 Pressure  

8.7 Gas Pressure  

8.8 Energy  

8.9 Power  

8.10 Efficiency  

8.11 Electrical Concepts  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  


Chapter 9

Dimensionless Numbers  

9.1 Constants with Units  

9.2 Common Dimensionless Numbers

9.3 Dimensional Analysis  

9.4 Rayleigh’s Method  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  


Part 3

Scrupulous Worksheets  

Chapter 10

Excel Workbooks  

10.1 Cell References  

10.2 Functions in Excel  

10.3 Logic and Conditionals  

10.4 Lookup and Data Validation  

10.5 Conditional Formatting  

10.6 Sorting and Filters  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  


Chapter 11

Graphical Solutions  

11.1 Graphing Terminology  

11.2 Proper Plots  

11.3 Available Graph Types in Excel  

11.4 Graph Interpretation  

11.5 Meaning of Line Shapes  

11.6 Graphical Solutions  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  


Chapter 12

Models and Systems  

12.1 Proper Plot Rules for Trendlines  

12.2 Linear Functions  

12.3 Linear Relationships  

12.4 Combinations of Linear Relationships  

12.5 Power Functions

12.6 Exponential Functions  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  


Chapter 13

Mathematical Models  

13.1 Selecting a Trendline Type  

13.2 Interpreting Logarithmic Graphs  

13.3 Proper Plot Rules for Log Plots

13.4 Converting Scales to Log in Excel  

13.5 Dealing with Limitations of Excel  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  


Chapter 14


14.1 Histograms  

14.2 Statistical Behavior  

14.3 Distributions  

14.4 Cumulative Distribution Functions  

14.5 Statistical Process Control (SPC)  

14.6 Statistics in Excel  

14.7 Statistics in MATLAB  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  


Part 4

Programming Prowess  

Chapter 15

MATLAB Basics  

15.1 Variable Basics  

15.2 Numeric Types and Scalars  

15.3 Vectors  

15.4 Matrices  

15.5 Character Strings  

15.6 Cell Arrays  

15.7 Structure Arrays  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  


Chapter 16

Algorithms, Programs, and Functions  

16.1 Algorithms  

16.2 Programs  

16.3 Functions  

16.4 Deriving Mathematical Models  

16.5 Debugging MATLAB Code  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  

Chapter 17

Input/Output in MATLAB  

17.1 Input  

17.2 Output  

17.3 Plotting  

17.4 Trendlines  

17.5 Microsoft Excel I/O  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  


Chapter 18

Logic and Conditionals  

18.1 Algorithms Revisited–Representing Decisions  

18.2 Relational and Logical Operators   

18.3 Logical Variables  

18.4 Conditional Statements in MATLAB  

18.5 Application: Classification Diagrams  

18.6 switch Statements  

18.7 Errors and Warnings  

In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  

Chapter 19

Looping Structures  

19.1 Algorithms Revisited–Loops 19.2 while Loops  

19.3 for Loops  


In-Class Activities  

Review Questions  

Comprehension Check Answers  


Equation Tables  

MATLAB Graphing Properties  

Appendix A: Basic Engineering Math–Online

Appendix B: Basic Workbooks–Online

Appendix C: Basic Excel Graphs–Online

Appendix D: Basic Excel Trendlines–Online



Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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