The engineering design process involves many steps. Not only must an engineer be able to devise a solution to a problem, he or she must also be ready to test and evaluate that solution to reach the best result. To successfully complete the design process, an engineer must be able to identify design flaws and learn from his or her mistakes. In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, learn about the design process as cast members create automatic door openers that enable them to open their bedroom doors while lying on their beds.
Creativity and flexibility go a long way in engineering. Not only does an engineer need to identify the problem to be solved and generate solutions while following design constraints, he or she must also be ready to adapt and improve the design through testing and evaluation.
Before an engineer builds and tests a prototype, careful thought and planning have gone into its design. After first identifying the problem that needs to be solved, the next step in the design process is to brainstorm ideas and come up with an initial design concept. Engineers need to consider many things when developing a design, including the materials to be used, how they will be assembled, and how the product will look and function.
In this video segment, two teams are presented with a design challenge — how to open their bedroom door while lying on the bed. As the teams brainstorm solutions, they must also keep in mind certain constraints — the only materials available to them are rope, string, straws, tape, rulers, bamboo skewers, clothes hangers, and rubber bands. Once each team has devised a solution and sketched their concept, they begin to test and evaluate the different components of their designs. However, despite coming up with a plan in advance, the teams find flaws in their designs. For example, one team discovers that the string they chose to use breaks when pulled. The team reevaluates their design and determines that their mistake was in choosing the wrong material. They decide that a stronger material, such as rope, would do a better job.
Identifying mistakes and proposing ways to improve upon the design is a critical part of the design process. Since modifications and improvements will help lead to the best possible product, the ability to learn from mistakes is an indispensable quality for an engineer. However, it is important to remember that the design process is not simply one of trial and error. The careful planning that went into the initial design must be carried through the entire process, from development and testing to evaluation and redesign.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.