When the engineering students transition from their sophomore to junior year, they start experiencing a large number of abstract concepts each semester. For most of students who do not have much experience in engineering, it is difficult to link these new concepts to physical problems, and the formulas associated with the new concepts make little or no sense to them. To help students get more experience, hands-on experiments can be effective. This paper first describes several simple experiments that can be demonstrated in classroom and conducted at home. Fluid Mechanics was chosen as a trial course in this study. The experiments are designed to cover the important aspects of Fluid Mechanics such as the minor/major loss of a pipe flow, the drag of an immersed object, and the application of linear momentum equations. The second approach to enhance the learning experience is to make a physical model. For both fluid mechanics and thermodynamics, an open-ended course project was assigned to the students, and the project required the students to develop a system model and complete the analysis. The outcome was evaluated through the student feedback as well as coursework, and the results indicate that this practice can help the students understand the concepts better and sustain their interest in the topics.

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