Teaching Engineering

NGSS Standards

The following content was retrieved from the Next Generation Science Standards. For more information, visit https://www.nextgenscience.org/

According to the Framework: “From a teaching and learning point of view, it is the iterative cycle of design that offers the greatest potential for applying science knowledge in the classroom and engaging in engineering practices” (NRC, 2012, pp. 201-202). The Framework recommends that students explicitly learn how to engage in engineering design practices to solve problems. The core idea of engineering design includes three component ideas:

  1. Defining and delimiting engineering problems involves stating the problem to be solved as clearly as possible in terms of criteria for success, and constraints or limits.
  2. Designing solutions to engineering problems begins with generating a number of different possible solutions, then evaluating potential solutions to see which ones best meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  3. Optimizing the design solution involves a process in which solutions are systematically tested and refined and the final design is improved by trading off less important features for those that are more important.

It is important to point out that these component ideas do not always follow in order, any more than do the “steps” of scientific inquiry. At any stage, a problem-solver can redefine the problem or generate new solutions to replace an idea that just isn’t working out.

Performance Expectations

K-2.Engineering Design

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

K-2-ETS1-1. Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool. 

K-2-ETS1-2. Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem. 

K-2-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.

3-5.Engineering Design

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

3-5-ETS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

3-5-ETS1-3. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.