LESSON 1: Introduction to Civil Engineering, Part 1 (October 10-11, 2018)

LESSON 1:  Introduction to Civil Engineering, Part 1

Context:  This is the first lesson in a series of lessons introducing High School students to the field of civil engineering
Objective:  The objective of this lesson is for students to learn the basic meaning of civil engineering.  What sub-areas does it include?  What do Civil Engineers do?

Method: This assignment involves research and reporting. Follow this article and provide the information where requested. This is an INDIVIDUAL (not group) assignment. Please hand write your responses (not typed or printed) in sentence and paragraph (not outline) form.   This assignment is due at the end of class. It can be accomplished within one class period, but you will need to work quickly.

Read the following introduction from the website of Columbia University in the City of New York,  Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics:

Civil engineering is arguably the oldest engineering discipline. It deals with the built environment and can be dated to the first time someone placed a roof over his or her head or laid a tree trunk across a river to make it easier to get across.

The built environment encompasses much of what defines modern civilization. Buildings and bridges are often the first constructions that come to mind, as they are the most conspicuous creations of structural engineering, one of civil engineering’s major sub-disciplines. Roads, railroads, subway systems, and airports are designed by transportation engineers, another category of civil engineering. And then there are the less visible creations of civil engineers. Every time you open a water faucet, you expect water to come out, without thinking that civil engineers made it possible. New York City has one of the world’s most impressive water supply systems, receiving billions of gallons of high-quality water from the Catskills over one hundred miles away. Similarly, not many people seem to worry about what happens to the water after it has served its purposes. The old civil engineering discipline of sanitary engineering has evolved into modern environmental engineering of such significance that most academic departments have changed their names to civil and environmental engineering.

These few examples illustrate that civil engineers do a lot more than design buildings and bridges. They can be found in the aerospace industry, designing jetliners and space stations; in the automotive industry, perfecting the load-carrying capacity of a chassis and improving the crashworthiness of bumpers and doors; and they can be found in the ship building industry, the power industry, and many other industries wherever constructed facilities are involved. And they plan and oversee the construction of these facilities as construction managers.

Civil engineering is an exciting profession because at the end of the day you can see the results of your work, whether this is a completed bridge, a high-rise building, a subway station, or a hydroelectric dam. [SOURCE: Columbia University Website, https://civil.columbia.edu/about/what-civil-engineering]

This series on civil engineering is going to involve some independent research. Please get in the habit of looking for reliable sources of information on the Internet. Consider your sources. On a topic such as civil engineering, the websites of well known universities should qualify. Trade organizations are another source of information—recognizing those organizations may be promoting a particular point of view, depending on the goals of the group. A “Trade Organization’s” members are involved in a particular business or trade, such as retail and wholesale, fabrics, food stuff, transportation. [definition from businessdictionary.com]

Write the complete Internet address (URL) of the websites of three well known universities (usually “.edu” is part of the domain name) which display a page relating to civil engineering:

1. _____________________________

2. _____________________________

3. _____________________________

Write the complete Internet address (URL) of the websites of three trade organizations which display a page relating to civil engineering:

4. _____________________________

5. _____________________________

6. _____________________________

Write a short paper (not less than one page) summarizing the field of civil engineering. Make use of the URL’s you provided above. Feel free to consult other reliable sources as well. Write the URL of any sources you use in brackets, after the information cited.  At a minimum, include the following elements in your paper:

7. In your own words, provide a simple definition of civil engineering.

8. Give at least three subcategories of civil engineering (Example: transportation).

9. For each of the subcategories  listed above:

A. Explain how civil engineering is involved in this field. Specifically why are engineers needed, and what services do the civil engineers perform?

B. Explain any recent advances in this area, which are being lead by civil engineers.

C. Give at least three examples of actual projects or products in this area. Describe each of these examples with a a paragraph or two; and indicate why these examples are important.