Students are introduced to the Engineering Design Process through a rapid prototyping activity. Each step of the EDP will be addressed while creating a prototype device using craft materials. This lesson will prepare students for future curriculum in the BCP Collection, with Essential Skills integration. This lesson is structured in the 5E Instructional Model.
NOTE: Digital fabrication tools are not used in this lesson. This lesson serves as an introduction for future use of digital fabrication tools.
Flashlight Materials (1 set per group)
Introduce students to the Engineering Design Process and Essential Skills
Instructors will begin the lesson by presenting a problem.
Students will work in groups of 2-3. The class as a whole will find several solutions to the problem.
Before using any digital fabrication tools, start with an engineering design process activity.
Discuss key points of the engineering design process:
Discuss Essential Skills that might be used throughout this process:
Problem: Basketball, or any activity outdoors, is more difficult to play at night under limited visibility.
Challenge: Create a wearable, light-up device that allows you or an individual to participate in this activity at night. Devices can focus on visibility, safety, or style.
Generate interest in the activity by allowing students to generate the problem they want to solve.
Identify (5 minutes)
Identify the problem together, as a group:
At the end of this step, hand out the Flashlight Materials. Additional Materials can be displayed buffet style at the front of the room or in the center of student tables for later in the activity.
Ask probing questions about the materials and previous solutions to the problem to direct student investigations.
Research (5-10 minutes)
Look through your Flashlight Materials. Ask students “What materials do you have at your disposal? How can you use these materials? Why might these be helpful in solving our problem?”
Guide students through planning and explaining their proposed solutions individually and as a group.
Ensure students have an understanding of how a simple circuit operates.
Show students an instructor-created example device made out of the same materials. Allow students to research its strengths/weaknesses and create a list of these qualities.
Develop Solutions (5 – 10 minutes)
With the materials from your Flashlight Kit and available Additional Materials in mind, have students sketch or diagram multiple ideas that could solve the problem their group identified. Students will have 5-10 minutes to draw these designs. They do not need to include all available materials in their design. Students may use partners, peers, or the internet as a resource to brainstorm their sketches.
Select Solutions (2 minutes)
Allow students to discuss the designs they sketched with their group members. Groups should decide which model you want to begin to prototype, or combine models, and continue with one design in mind.
Allow students to apply their plans to create their prototype devices.
Prototype (10 minutes)
Using Flashlight Materials provided, students have 10 minutes to construct the selected device that will solve their problem.
Give students access to the Additional Materials at this time.
Students will assess their own learning and group process skills by asking open-ended questions about their prototype devices.
Test (3 minutes)
Direct students to try on the device themselves or with a group member and analyze the following:
Communicate (5 minutes)
Tell students to find another group and swap creations.
In groups, students should ask the following questions about the other’s creation:
(Additional questions you may ask if time permits:)
Redesign (5 – 10 minutes)
Students have 5 minutes to make their construction more effective.
After 5 minutes:
Students should return to the original construction. As a group, they can discuss:
Allow students to thank the other group for their contribution to solving the problem they identified!