engineering design process

Putting the E in STEM…

How about adding an engineering component to Social Studies?

Gee, we never thought of that! However, it wasn’t long before we came up with some really interesting ideas.

Fourth grade Social Studies focuses on Florida history. We are already working with MOAS on an archeology project so we have access to lots of resources. This provides a great framework to introducing the Engineering Design Process. The early Floridians had lots of problems and came up with some really innovative solutions.

Engineering – exploring the designed world – the application of math, science and the engineering design process to innovative problem solutions

Engineering Design Process (EDP) [2]

  • Ask – identify the problem
  • Imagine – brainstorm, explore similar solutions, possible improvements, materials, methods, new ideas
  • Plan – design, work out what it takes to build, any special tools, prototype, scale model, mathematical model, CAD
  • Create – build it, try it out – testing, use it
  • Improve – make it better, additional features

Florida history

  • settlers – tools, housing, water transportation, railroad, shipping – MOAS [3]
  • agriculture – citrus plantations, farming, cattle, irrigation, sugar mill
  • indians – housing, tools, crafts
  • hurricanes – damage to man-made structures, damage avoidance / prevention
  • Thomas Edison – phonograph, motion picture camera, 1,000 other inventions
  • St. Augustine and Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, Ponce Inlet lighthouse – construction, lenses, light source
  • forts, Castillo de San Marcos – construction, fortifications, guns, canons
  • Army Corps of Engineers – St. Johns River, Inter Coastal Waterway, bridges
  • NASA
  • theme parks – rides, attractions
  • water cycle – from my house to the sea – low flow toilets, sewage treatment, reduce, reuse, remediation, conserve
  • rock cycle – mining, exploration, oil refinery, thermal power

The burden on teachers if Engineering is added or integrated into existing curriculum would be reduced if resources for kids rather than for teachers were provided. This is already being done with curriculum and simulations for physics, chemistry, and biology topics, for example.