Guide Problem Analysis in Science and Engineering

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The two processes also differ in significant ways. One point of divergence is the role of constraints. Budget constraints, for instance, can limit science inquiry and can even keep scientists from answering a particular question. But they do not affect the answer itself. For engineers, however, budget constraints can determine the actual characteristics of a design solution—the materials used, for example, or the number of redundancies included to protect against possible failure.

In , A Framework for K Science Education described a new vision of science instruction that actively engaged students in science and engineering practices to develop a deep understanding of core ideas in those fields. By placing greater emphasis on these practices in learning experiences, instruction can provide students with a richer and more accurate view of science, engineering, and technology. The framework identified 8 practices essential for K science and engineering education. These are practices that both engineers and scientists engage in as part of their work.

Each practice, however, is utilized in slightly different ways in the two fields, as noted in the table below which is adapted from the framework. Engineering uses models and simulations to analyze existing systems to identify possible flaws or test possible solutions. Science uses of a wide variety of models and simulations to help develop explanations for natural phenomenon.

Engineers use investigations to gain data for specifying design criteria and to test their designs.

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They must identify relevant variables, decide how they will be measured, and collect data for analysis. Planning and carrying out systematic investigations is a major practice for scientists. They must identify what is to be recorded and, if applicable, what are to be treated as the dependent and independent variables. Engineers analyze data collected in testing designs and through investigations to compare solutions. Scientists analyze data produced by scientific investigations in order to derive meaning.

In engineering, math is an integral part of design. Computational representations are essential in simulations and prototype development. Math-based analysis allows engineers to calculate if a given solution can meet criteria and still be completed within budget.

In science, math is used to in a variety of ways to represent physical variables and their relationships. Computational representations allow scientists to make and test predictions.

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Statistics allow them to assess the significance of patterns or correlations. The goal of engineering is to solve a problem or meet a need. The goal of science is to construct theories that explain features of the world. In engineering, reasoning and argument are essential for finding the best possible solution to a problem. In science, reasoning and argument are essential for identifying the strengths and weaknesses of an explanation. New or improved technologies will not be produced if engineers cannot accurately gather requirements or clearly and persuasively communicate the advantages of their designs.

The process can skip ahead for example, build a model early in the process to test a proof of concept and go backwards learn more about the problem or potential solutions if early ideas do not work well. This process provides a reference that can be reiterated throughout the unit as students learn new material or ideas that are relevant to the completion of their unit projects.

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Brainstorming about what we know about a problem or project and what we need to find out to move forward in a project is often a good starting point when faced with a new problem. This type of questioning provides a basis and relevance that is useful in other energy science and technology units. In this unit, the general problem that is addressed is the fact that Americans use a lot of energy, with the consequences that we have a dwindling supply of fossil fuels, and we are emitting a lot of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants.

The specific project that students are assigned to address is an aspect of this problem that requires them to identify an action they can take in their own live to reduce their overall energy or fossil fuel consumption. Clearly state the problem. Short, sweet and to the point.

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  • This is the "big picture" problem, not the specific project you have been assigned. Evaluate solution by: 1 Comparing possible solution against constraints and criteria 2 Making trade-offs to identify "best. The results of the problem solving activity provide a basis for the entire semester project.

    Collect and review the worksheets to make sure that students are started on the right track. Hacker, M, Barden B. Albany NY: Delmar Publishers, This lesson was developed under National Science Foundation grants no. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government. Why K engineering?

    Engineering Design and Science Inquiry

    Find more at TeachEngineering. Quick Look. Grade Level: 8 Lessons in this Unit : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Time Required: 1 hours 15 minutes two minute class periods Lesson Dependency Lesson dependency indicates that this lesson relies upon the contents of the TeachEngineering document s listed. The Energy Problem. Print this lesson Toggle Dropdown Print lesson and its associated curriculum. Curriculum in this Unit Most curricular materials in TeachEngineering are hierarchically organized; i. Subscribe to our newsletter. Educators Share Experiences.

    Summary Students are introduced to a systematic procedure for solving problems through a demonstration and then the application of the method to an everyday activity.

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    The unit project is introduced to provide relevance to subsequent lessons. Engineering Connection Scientists, engineers and ordinary people use problem solving each day to work out solutions to various problems. Grades 6 - 8 Do you agree with this alignment? The more precisely a design task's criteria and constraints can be defined, the more likely it is that the designed solution will be successful. Specification of constraints includes consideration of scientific principles and other relevant knowledge that is likely to limit possible solutions.

    All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of people and the natural environment. The uses of technologies and any limitations on their use are driven by individual or societal needs, desires, and values; by the findings of scientific research; and by differences in such factors as climate, natural resources, and economic conditions.

    View other curriculum aligned to this performance expectation. Design involves a set of steps, which can be performed in different sequences and repeated as needed. Grades 6 - 8 More Details View aligned curriculum Do you agree with this alignment? National Science Education Standards - Science Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations.

    Students should develop the ability to refine and refocus broad and ill-defined questions. An important aspect of this ability consists of students' ability to clarify questions and inquiries and direct them toward objects and phenomena that can be described, explained, or predicted by scientific investigations.

    Students should develop the ability to identify their questions with scientific ideas, concepts, and quantitative relationships that guide investigation.

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    Grades 5 - 8 More Details View aligned curriculum Do you agree with this alignment? Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions. Students should develop the ability to listen to and respect the explanations proposed by other students. They should remain open to and acknowledge different ideas and explanations, be able to accept the skepticism of others, and consider alternative explanations.

    Identify appropriate problems for technological design. Students should develop their abilities by identifying a specified need, considering its various aspects, and talking to different potential users or beneficiaries. They should appreciate that for some needs, the cultural backgrounds and beliefs of different groups can affect the criteria for a suitable product.

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    Design a solution or product. Students should make and compare different proposals in the light of the criteria they have selected. They must consider constraints--such as cost, time, trade-offs, and materials needed--and communicate ideas with drawings and simple models. Implement a proposed design. Students should organize materials and other resources, plan their work, make good use of group collaboration where appropriate, choose suitable tools and techniques, and work with appropriate measurement methods to ensure adequate accuracy.

    Evaluate completed technological designs or products. Students should use criteria relevant to the original purpose or need, consider a variety of factors that might affect acceptability and suitability for intended users or beneficiaries, and develop measures of quality with respect to such criteria and factors; they should also suggest improvements and, for their own products, try proposed modifications.

    Scientific inquiry and technological design have similarities and differences. Scientists propose explanations for questions about the natural world, and engineers propose solutions relating to human problems, needs, and aspirations. Technological solutions are temporary; technologies exist within nature and so they cannot contravene physical or biological principles; technological solutions have side effects; and technologies cost, carry risks, and provide benefits. Perfectly designed solutions do not exist.