Building toys for children by applying entrepreneurial-minded learning and universal design principles

Scott Streiner, Cheryl A. Bodnar, Kaitlin Mallouk, Bruce Oestreich, Kevin D. Dahm

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Incorporating entrepreneurial-minded learning (EML) into engineering curricula has been an increasingly popular educational practice over the last decade. These practices have often been initiated, supported, and disseminated via the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), which has focused on students developing curiosity about the world around them, connecting information from a variety of sources to guide in analysis, and creating products that provide value to stakeholders. In the College of Engineering at Rowan University we have sought to strategically develop the entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students by building in EML principles - namely the KEEN 3C's of Curiosity, Connections, and Creating Value - into existing and new first and second-year design projects. This full paper describes one such first-year project that leverages EML and Universal Design Principles as a framework for creating toys for children. In this project, students are tasked with designing an inexpensive toy for kids during hospital visits via the Little House on Wheels Hospitality Cart Program. The project is carried out in four phases where students learn how to (1) understand their intended customer and apply different brainstorming strategies, (2) conduct task and market analyses to better understand how their toy design interfaces with the customer and how it differs from similar toys, (3) carry out economic and manufacturing analyses, and (4) create a prototype of their toy through 3D modeling/printing processes. At the conclusion of the project, students wrote a design report that was graded using an internally designed rubric, some items of which were mapped to the KEEN 3C's. The final reports were analyzed using this rubric and results relating to entrepreneurial mindset development are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number286
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
Event2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 26 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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