Assessing Climate and the Meteorological Environment

Project: Design, build, and test an environmental station to monitor air quality, and use your hyper-local data to inform clients of changing conditions

This course is remote-based allowing students to learn at home or in-person. We combine synchronous and asynchronous components with hands-on and computer-aided design labs to allow students everywhere to contribute to their team projects.

Understanding and combating climate change is one of the great challenges of our generation. One point of optimism is that the tools of scientific discovery and analysis are becoming increasingly available to citizen engineers and scientists. During a semester when students may be scattered across the world, this course turns your dispersion into something positive! You will build an environmental station to collect data from your local environment, and then work with your team to analyze your different data sets for a scenario of your choice. Possibilities include: assessing the effects of climate change on air pollution, alerting a factory manager or hydroponics grow operations engineer to changing conditions, or determining operating conditions for an autonomous delivery vehicle. 

We will touch on the following engineering topics within the context of the environmental station project: 

  • team communication and collaboration
  • systems design  
  • entry-level electronics, including an introduction to Arduino boards and breadboards
  • 3D modeling
  • technical documentation (presentations, reports, videos, webpages, etc.) 
  • sensors and data processing
  • engineering graphics (graphs, diagrams, visuals of all kinds)
  • ethics and engineering responsibilities
  • probability, statistics, and risk

This section is designed by faculty with a combined 40+ years experience teaching Engr 100. Normally they teach other sections of Engr 100, but they’ve come together to design this section specifically to meet the demands of a flexible, online-delivered, design-build-test-communicate section for the Fall 2020 semester. They are highly engaged faculty who love teaching Engr 100. Any student who is interested in a rewarding, hands-on introduction to engineering at U-M is very welcome in this section! 

Important notes:

  • This section is specially designed to be delivered online. In-person meetings are not required, although we may have some in-person meeting opportunities at some point during the semester for anyone who happens to be on campus. 
  • No experience with electronics, programming, or 3D modeling is expected or required — we’re excited to introduce you to these fun things! And if you do have experience, then you can continue to develop those skills and help your peers learn based on your experience!
  • This course will have both asynchronous and synchronous content. Asynchronous content delivery will include things like short pre-recorded videos and documents posted to a course Google Drive; asynchronous interaction with your instructors and teammates will be via Slack. Synchronous interactions with your instructors and teammates will be via Zoom/BlueJeans; these virtual face-to-face meetings with your instructors and teammates will be during regular class meeting times (lecture, discussion, and lab) or selected at a different, mutually convenient time. 
  • A laptop is required for this course. Minimum requirements include: 64-bit multi-core processor, 8GB+ RAM, 128GB+ HDD, 802.11ac WiFi, any operating system (MacOS, Windows, Linux), video/audio (built in camera, speaker, mic + headphones), internet connectivity (min of 20Mb/s download and 8Mb/s upload). Note: a Chromebook will not be sufficient for this course. We are committed to the success of all of our students: if you need assistance in securing a computer or internet access, please contact the First Year Programs Manager at