Magazine article Children's Technology and Engineering

Engineering Design and Scientific Inquiry an Interdependent Relationship

Magazine article Children's Technology and Engineering

Engineering Design and Scientific Inquiry an Interdependent Relationship

Article excerpt

In last year's issue on integrating science into a STEM-based elementary classroom, I referred to two articles that discuss the relationship between the engineering design process and scientific inquiry. I'd like to revisit those articles and then show how inquiry and design can be used together in a simple STEM lesson.

The first article is by David Haury and is entitled "Learning Science Through Design." In it, Haury discusses how design can be used to teach scientific concepts. He states, "... teaching science through design formally engages students in ... meeting life's challenges." He goes on to say design activities connect scientific concepts to daily life and allow students to "do something," not just "know something." Design can stimulate and develop skills such as creative thinking, problem solving, and decision making that students need to be successful, productive members of the 21st century. Teaching inquiry through design allows students to understand scientific concepts in a more meaningful, engaging way and relates science to real-world experiences.

The second article is by Bernie Zubrowski, entitled "Integrating Science into Design Technology Projects: Using a Standard Model in the Design Process." In the article, Zubrowski describes a three-phased approach students could use in creating an effective design. "The first phase is an open exploration during which students are free to try out their own ideas attempting to build something that is functional but usually not very efficient. The second phase involves the adoption of what can be called a standard model. This is used to carry out systematic testing of essential variables of the system. The third phase is a return to the design process, using the newly gained knowledge to rebuild and make a more effective design. The key element of this approach is the use of a standard model. …

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