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        Prototype the Solution | Engineering for Good

        How can you design a model to test or get feedback on your solution? Students will develop a prototype of their solution. This lesson is lesson 6 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

        In this lesson, students will develop a prototype of their solution.

        Time Allotment

        90 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Students will develop a prototype of their solution.


        Essential Question

        How can you design a model to test or get feedback on your solution?

        Introductory Activity


        1. Review the Engineering Design Process diagram on page 3 of the Engineering for Good student notebook. Now that students have selected a solution, it’s time to build a model of their solution, called a “prototype.”

        2. Watch the Engineering Is Diagnosing Diseases with Origami Microscopes video. Ask students how the scientists and engineers developed the first model of their solution. What materials did they use? 

        3. Look at some of the original sketches and prototypes of the Foldscope in the related e-book.

        Learning Activities

        Guided Practice

        1. Review the different kinds of prototypes on page 12 of the Engineering for Good student notebook. If students haven’t yet decided, they should choose if they are going to build

        • A visual prototype - one that looks like their solution; or
        • A working prototype - one that works like their solution (it may also look like their solution)  

        For example, if their solution is something that filters plastic pieces from sand, then students might want to develop a prototype that works like the solution. If their solution is too large to build at scale, then they might want a prototype that looks like their solution.

        2. Discuss any questions or concerns that students have about their design. 

        Independent Practice

        1. In small groups, have students first draw a detailed sketch of their prototype on page 13 of the Engineering for Good student notebook. They should use labels and notes to explain measurements, materials, functions of different parts, etc. 

        2. Then, based on the type of prototype they are developing, students can begin to build their prototype using basic materials. (Advanced option: If you already use a program, like Tinkercad, in your class to have students design, they can use that).

        Culminating Activity


        Were students able to build a prototype of their solution that either looks like or works like their solution?


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