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Using The Design Process in Engineering

The design process is an important cornerstone for STEM education, but it can be hard to show students how to apply the design process. I will go over the design process below, and a few of my resources that implement it!

The Design Process in Engineering

Step One: Identify the Problem

Let’s say I need to make a balloon car that will move using only the energy of a balloon deflating. That is our “problem”. 

Step Two: Brainstorm Solutions

Now that I’ve identified my problem, I need to brainstorm solutions for as to how I am going to make a balloon car that works! This can be as simple as writing down my initial thoughts and ideas based on the materials I have.

Step Three: Plan a Design

Now that I have brainstormed, I can move forward to planning my design. I might do this by writing down what materials I plan to use for each component of the balloon car, or it can even mean I will draw a blueprint.

Step Four: Build a Prototype

In this step, I will implement my brainstorms and my design and make a prototype of my balloon car using the materials I have available to me. For your students, this means they will use whatever materials you have provided them.

Step Five: Test and Evaluate

Once I have created my prototype, I will do a test run! Since I am using balloon cars as an example, this means I will see if my balloon car can move using the energy of the balloon deflating. During this step, I would record any data I find. How fast did the car move? Charts, tables, and diagrams are great ways to record data. Recording data can also be as simple as taking notes!

Step Six: Modify the Design

After I test and evaluate my design, I will modify anything that is not working on the prototype. Sometimes your first attempt works great and does not need any modifications. For a balloon car, the car needs to move using only the energy the balloon “engine” produces. If the balloon car doesn’t move, or does not move far, I may need to use lighter materials. 

Step Seven: Share

Step seven is where I would share my final design of my balloon car. When I use the balloon car lesson in class, we share our designs by having a race with our finished cars! And each student gets to share the modifications they made to their design to make it better!

How do I Apply the Design Process in the Classroom?

It can be hard to teach the design process while also keeping students engaged. The good news is, I have a few really great resources available that teach and implement the design process! You will love the balloon car experiment, but I also have a resource where students will build their own simple flashlights, and I have a great FREE candy launcher resource!

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    I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!

     
    Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit

    Tina S

    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
    5
    2016-05-03T18:05:39-06:00

    Tina S

    I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!   Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit
    The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!

     
    Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2

    Richard S

    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
    5
    2016-05-03T18:07:52-06:00

    Richard S

    The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!   Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2
    As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.

     
    Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4

    Sharon M

    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
    5
    2016-05-03T18:24:44-06:00

    Sharon M

    As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.   Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4
    Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.

     
    Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning

    Expedition Fourth

    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
    2020-11-03T20:44:55-07:00

    Expedition Fourth

    Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.   Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning
    My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.

     
    Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer

    Heidi J

    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
    2020-11-03T20:45:49-07:00

    Heidi J

    My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.   Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer
    5
    3
    Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams