You likely follow some of the steps in your everyday activities. The focus of the EDP is problem solving. I’m sure you’ve problem solved already today. Deciding what to wear, which errands to complete, and where to eat are examples of everyday situations where you subconsciously use the EDP. Let’s review the steps to see if you agree.
- The first step in the process is Ask. For example, you can ask, “Where am I going to eat today?”
- After you know what the problem is, you then need to brainstorm solutions. This is the Imagine step. For our example, you consider restaurants in the vicinity or what food you have at home.
- Next, you come up with a Plan. Your plan might be to go home and make lunch, or maybe you are going to the fast food joint a few blocks away.
- The following step is to Create your solution. If you go home for lunch, you are most likely making it. However, if you choose fast food, someone else is making it for you. Either way, you carry out your plan.
- The final step is Improve. If you make your own lunch, this step is fairly easy to understand. Did you like what you made? Is there something you would do differently next time? How can you make it better? If you go to the fast food joint, this step is still applicable. Did you take the best route to get there? Did you like what you ordered? Would you order something different next time?
The Engineering Design Process is something we use more often than we realize. However, many kids today do not have this same skill set and often lack problem-solving skills. So, let’s look at how a Pitsco Maker Space Project can be used to teach the EDP. The KaZoon Kite Maker Project spans all three of our leveled makerspace packages.
- Ask (prompt) – Give your students a problem or prompt to solve. For example, build a three-dimensional (could be 2-D for elementary) kite composed of at least four tetrahedrons.
- Imagine – Ask your students to brainstorm their designs. They could draw them, write about them, discuss them, or utilize technology. The sky’s the limit, and it’s okay if they use different strategies.
- Plan – Whether the students are working individually or in a group, they need to pick one design.
- Create – This is the best step because students are able to get their hands on the materials and build something. This is where they learn perseverance, teamwork, and determination. This is the step where they get to make it their own!
- Improve – After making their kites, students will need to test them. Do the kites satisfy the given prompt/problem? Do they fly? Is there anything the students would like to change to make the kites better?