Global populations have for decades migrated more and more to coastal regions. This colonization of the coast has resulted in large areas of what was formerly rocky shores, salt marshes, and mudflats becoming built environment for people. What’s more, as sea levels rise more, coastal defenses are being put in place to protect towns and cities from the oceans. These coastal defenses are also replacing natural habitats that play a vital role in the life cycle of fish, including spawning locations, nurseries, and sources of planktonic food. This, in turn, is affecting the fish stocks in the oceans. During this lesson, students will gain a basic understanding of the idea that specific habitats are essential in the lifecycle of some species. Students will work through the engineering design process to build a ‘bio-block’ solution to make sea walls a more nature-friendly solution for flood protection.
Students are introduced to the world of creative engineering product design. Through six activities, teams work through the steps of the engineering design process (or loop) by completing an actual design challenge presented in six steps. The project challenge is left up to the teacher or class to determine; it might be one decided by the teacher, brainstormed with the class, or the example provided (to design a prosthetic arm that can perform a mechanical function). As students begin by defining the problem, they learn to recognize the need, identify a target population, relate to the project, and identify its requirements and constraints. Then they conduct research, brainstorm alternative solutions, evaluate possible solutions, create and test prototypes, and consider issues for manufacturing. See the Unit Schedule section for a list of example design project topics.
This wiki page describes the DIY Design Challenge Activity used during ISKME's Teacher Academy. Design a DIY Project for students that meets the following design principles:The design must meet a need for their school community. The design must use collaboration between teacher, student, and community. The design must be multidisciplinary. The design must use low cost and/or no cost materials. Group examples are included.
Through Internet research, patent research, standards and codes research, user interviews (if possible) and other techniques (idea web, reverse engineering), students further develop the context for their design challenge. In subsequent activities, the design teams use this body of knowledge about the problem to generate product design ideas. (Note: Conduct this activity in the context of a design project that students are working on, which could be a challenge determined by the teacher, brainstormed with the class, or the example project challenge provided [to design a prosthetic arm that can perform a mechanical function]. This activity is Step 2 in a series of six that guide students through the engineering design loop.)
Brainstorming is a team creativity activity that helps generate a large number of potential solutions to a problem. In this activity, students participate in a group brainstorming activity to generate possible solutions to their engineering design challenge. Students learn brainstorming guidelines and practice within their teams to create a poster of ideas. The posters are used in a large group critiquing activity that ultimately helps student teams create a design project outline. (Note: Conduct this activity in the context of a design project that students are working on; this activity is Step 3 in a series of six that guide students through the engineering design loop.)
Engineering analysis distinguishes true engineering design from "tinkering." In this activity, students are guided through an example engineering analysis scenario for a scooter. Then they perform a similar analysis on the design solutions they brainstormed in the previous activity in this unit. At activity conclusion, students should be able to defend one most-promising possible solution to their design challenge. (Note: Conduct this activity in the context of a design project that students are working on; this activity is Step 4 in a series of six that guide students through the engineering design loop.)
Students learn about the manufacturing phase of the engineering design process. They start by building prototypes, which is a special type of model used to test new design ideas. Students gain experience using a variety of simple building materials, such as foam core board, balsa wood, cardstock and hot glue. They present their prototypes to the class for user testing and create prototype iterations based on feedback. (Note: Conduct this activity in the context of a design project that students are working on; this activity is Step 5 in a series of six that guide students through the engineering design loop.)
As students learn more about the manufacturing process, they use the final prototypes created in the previous activity to evaluate, design and manufacture final products. Teams work with more advanced materials and tools, such as plywood, Plexiglas, metals, epoxies, welding materials and machining tools. (Note: Conduct this activity in the context of a design project that students are working on; this activity is Step 6 in a series of six that guide students through the engineering design loop.)
After second grade students learn about Earth's systems and maps, students are challenged with designing a relief map of a community park.
The Green Design Challenge is to brainstorm, prototype and present a design idea for a social entrepreneurship project focusing on green design that meets the design principles. Photo examples from ISKME's Teacher Innovation Workshop are included.
Engineers create and use new materials, as well as new combinations of existing materials to design innovative new products and technologies—all based upon the chemical and physical properties of given substances. In this activity, students act as materials engineers as they learn about and use chemical and physical properties including tessellated geometric designs and shape to build better smartphone cases. Guided by the steps of the engineering design process, they analyze various materials and substances for their properties, design/test/improve a prototype model, and create a dot plot of their prototype testing results.
In conjunction with Connected Educator Month throughout October, 2014 ISKME and KQED are launching the Connected Educator Challenge, an opportunity for Connected Educators to share what they are currently doing in their work and envision the future of what being a Connected Educator will look like. Connected Educators are invited to make and share media in response to the prompt below:
Show us your vision for your future as a Connected Educator. Where do you hope to be in the future as a Connected Educator? What will your learning environment look like? How will your students be connected? What kinds of activity will you and your students be engaged in? How will you and your students meet the challenge of an increasingly interconnected world?
Show us your vision for the future as a Connected Educator. Where do you hope to be in the future as a Connected Educator?
Participants collaborate in ISKME's OER Design Lab at Maker Faire to brainstorm, prototype, and present new ideas for teaching and learning. Each participant creates an Open Educational Resource (OER) that will be shared on OER Commons and with teachers during the Maker Faire follow up Teachers as Makers Academy.
Student teams design, build and test small-sized gliders to maximize flight distance and an aerodynamic ratio, applying their knowledge of fluid dynamics to its role in flight. Students experience the entire engineering design process, from brainstorming to CAD (or by hand) drafting, including researching (physics of aerodynamics and glider components that take advantage of that science), creating materials lists, constructing, testing and evaluating—all within constraints (works with a launcher, budget limitation, maximizing flight distance to mass ratio), and concluding with a summary final report. Numerous handouts and rubrics are provided.
Students make two different formulations of imitation Silly Putty with varying degrees of cross-linking. They witness how changes in the degree of cross-linking influence the putty properties.
This unit describes a general approach to guiding students to complete service-based engineering design projects, with specific examples provided in detail as associated activities. With your class, brainstorm ideas for engineering designs that benefit your community or a specific person in your community. Then, guided by the steps of the engineering design process, have students research to understand background science and math, meet their client to understand the problem, and create, test and improve prototype devices. Note that service-based projects often take more time to prepare, especially if you arrange for a real client. However, the authors notice that students of both genders and all ethnicities tend to respond with more enthusiasm and interest to altruistic projects.
Students are tasked with designing a special type of hockey stick for a sled hockey team—a sport designed for individuals with physical disabilities to play ice hockey. Using the engineering design process, students act as material engineers to create durable hockey sticks using a variety of materials. The stick designs will contain different interior structures that can hold up during flexure (or bending) tests. Following flexure testing, the students can use their results to iterate upon their design and create a second stick.
Students act as engineers to solve a hypothetical problem that has occurred in the Swiss Alps due to a seismic event. In research groups, students follow the steps of the engineering design process as teams compete to design and create small-size model sleds that can transport materials to people in distress who are living in the affected town. The sleds need to be able to carry various resources that the citizens need for survival as well as meet other design requirements. Students test their designs and make redesigns to improve their prototypes in order to achieve final working designs. Once the designs and final testing are complete, students create final technical reports.