The Engineering Design Process


  • What Is the Engineering Design Process?

    Each part of the engineering design process which is fundamental to any successful project is illustrated in this video video segment adapted from Thinking Big, Building Small. Though it does this in the context of building skyscrapers, the process is applicable to any sort of project, including constructing schools, building bridges, and even manufacturing sneakers. Students will recognize the value of going through its steps sequentially when constructing scale models. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grades 3-12 students.

    Grades: 3-12
  • Design and Build a Tangle-Free Headphone Holder

    In this lesson, students follow the engineering design process to build a tool that stores headphones for a portable music listening device, such as an MP3 player, without the wires getting tangled. As they work through this process, students learn about the engineer's role in finding solutions to meet human needs.

    Grades: 5-8,13+
  • NOVA scienceNOW: Smart Bridges

    This video segment adapted from NOVA scienceNOW features two engineering innovations designed to improve structural safety in bridges. The video shows how sound waves can be used to detect cracks in steel and other signs of bridge instability undetected by the human eye. A second approach involves painting onto the bridge a "sensing skin" made of microscopic carbon nanotubes that use electrical currents to reveal structural damage or weak spots. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grades 6-12 students.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Simple Solutions: The Engineering Design Process

    The most valuable contributions engineers make to humanity are probably not high-tech electronics, but, rather, they are simple and inexpensive solutions that make life better for large populations of people: inventions such as a cheap and easy-to-use water-testing devices. In this video, mechanical engineer Amy Smith explains the design process for an innovation that enables poor people in isolated villages to determine whether their water supplies are free of dangerous bacteria. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grade 3-12 students.

    Grades: 3-12
  • Funny Boat

    It may be admirable to create something useful out of garbage, but it could be risky to trust your life to a boat made from items others have thrown away. In this video segment adapted from FETCH!™, cast members put their engineering design skills to the test when they are challenged to construct a boat that floats, can be steered, and is propelled by something other than oars. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grades K-8 students.

    Grades: K-8
  • Designing a Wheelchair for Rugby

    In this video segment adapted from Design Squad, U.S. Paralympic athlete and wheelchair rugby player Kerri Morgan asks the teams to build an automated wheelchair that simulates a defensive player on the attack. The teams use the engineering design process to create adaptive technologies. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grades 6-12 students.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Mind-Controlled Robotic Arm

    In this video excerpt from NOVA scienceNOW, find out how a paralyzed woman manipulates a robotic arm with her mind to successfully drink from a cup. Correspondent and New York Times technology columnist David Pogue explores this experiment conducted by the BrainGate research team of doctors, scientists, and engineers. BrainGate investigators explain the placement of a sensor on the brain of a stroke victim, how a person's arm moves, and how complex the brain's control of movement is. This resource is useful for introducing components of Engineering Design (ETS) from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to grade 6-12 students.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 6-12

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