Definitions of the engineering profession include “…application of scientific principles to design or develop machines, processes, works, etc.” Significant science-based content is therefore a feature of accredited engineering curricula — a feature tending to dominate the early years thereby establishing a particular learning environment. This paper 1) identifies how a dysfunctional relationship between learning of science and the practice of engineering can arise; and 2) presents ways to improve learning of both science and design through integrated science learning. Over the course of almost three decades of trying to improve engineering design learning at the University of Calgary — employing many of the approaches described at length in the engineering education literature — it became apparent that realization of our teaching goals (e.g. quality, innovation, agility, and establishing a basis for life-long learning) might require a fundamental change in the culture of learning. Through a process of re-design plus continuous improvement, the authors have sought to develop a learning environment that establishes a learning culture that can foster the desired attributes. A pivotal aspect of this learning environment lies in the integration of science and design learning at the most fundamental level. Observation of thousands of students working on hundreds of design projects has revealed that desired outcomes can be achieved (Fig. 1).

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