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        Identify Criteria and Constraints | Engineering for Good

        Students will identify the criteria and constraints of the solution for their design problem by considering scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the environment. Criteria are things the design needs to do in order to be successful--its requirements. Constraints are limitations on the design. This is lesson 4 of 10 in Engineering for Good, a NGSS-aligned, project-based learning unit.

        KQED Teach is here to support you in doing these projects with your students. We encourage you to take or review our self-paced courses, Making Infographics and Video Storytelling Essentials, prior to beginning this unit if you are not already regularly integrating media projects into your classroom. Sign up is required (and free) to access courses.

         

        Engineering for Good Unit

        Lesson Summary

        Students will identify the criteria and constraints of the solution for their design problem by considering scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the environment. Criteria are things the design needs to do in order to be successful--its requirements. Constraints are limitations on the design.

        Time Allotment

        35 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Students will identify the criteria and constraints of the solution for their design problem by considering scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the environment. Criteria are things the design needs to do in order to be successful--its requirements. Constraints are limitations on the design.

        Supplies

        Essential Question

        What are the criteria for success and the constraints on your design?

        Introductory Activity

        1. Review the Engineering Design Process diagram on page 3 of the student notebook. Discuss that the second step of the process is identifying constraints on a solution and also the criteria for its success. 

        2. Explain the terms “criteria” and “constraints.” Criteria are things the design needs to do in order to be successful--its requirements. Constraints are limitations on the design. These may be materials available, the cost of the materials, the amount of time they have to develop the solution, etc. 

        3. Recall the marshmallow challenge. Discuss the criteria and constraints for that challenge. Alternatively, you can list the criteria and constraints from the challenge in random order and have the students identify if each is either a criterion for success or a constraint.

        • Criteria: The structure had to be free-standing, stable, as tall as possible and hold a marshmallow at the top.
        • Constraints: Students could only use the materials provided—spaghetti, string and tape. They had 15 minutes to build their design.

        Learning Activities

        Guided Practice

        1. Watch the Engineering is Bringing Fish Up from the Deep video. Have students pay attention to the specific problem the engineers and scientists are working to solve. Pause the video at 2:22 to define the problem as a class. (The scientists needed a way to capture fish at pressure, keep them at pressure and then slowly decompress them when they got to the surface so that the fish wouldn’t die.)

        2. As students watch the remainder of the video, have them record the criteria and constraints the scientists and engineers were working with in the table on page 10 of their notebooks. 

        3. Discuss their findings as a class. (Criteria: the device needs to be able to go underwater, collect fish and keep them at pressure; be small enough to take on a dive, sturdy, sleek, lightweight and able to handle the immense pressure of the deep ocean. Constraints: inexpensive, off-the-shelf materials)

        Culminating Activity

        Independent Practice

        1. Have students work in their small groups to identify the criteria and constraints on their design. In doing so, they should think about potential effects on people and the environment. Students can record the criteria and constraints on the bottom of page 10 in their notebooks. 

        2. Have each group rank their criteria and constraints from most important to least important. Students should think about which are absolutely necessary and which would be nice to have.

        Assessment/Reflection

        Were students able to identify appropriate criteria for success and constraints on their design? Did they rank them by order of importance?

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