(detailed objectives) (available resources)
Goal: Familiarize students with class protocols while establishing a real-world perspective of all future activities.
[standards: class administration, NS.5-12.7]
|(to review the
detailed content, download the low
pdf of available teacher presentation)
The new product development project in this class will mimic how engineering teams in the real world might approach a complex design challenge. If the entire curriculum is administered properly, students will gain invaluable insight into the engineering process while seeing how engineers, scientists, and technology impact our society. In the real world, engineering teams are made up of diverse specialists so that no part of the product life cycle is neglected. Directing the students' focus and getting their team organized in this first week creates the essential framework that prevents future classes from deteriorating into chaos.
Much of the information covered in this first week should be tailored to fit the teacher's unique method of administering a class. However, there is some information that should not be significantly altered because it is prerequisite for later topics. The basic class rules probably need to be modified according to teacher preference but there are some essential ideas that need to be conveyed. First, it must be communicated that (depending on the type of project used) students may be working with potentially dangerous tools and such an environment requires extra discipline by all to ensure safety. Second, due to the nature of the specifically defined team roles, the whole team can be absolutely crippled if one student fails at their assignment. With this increased responsibility should be increased accountability.
When a complex project is central to the curriculum, a design journal should NOT be considered optional. If the students are not disciplined at keeping a journal, the entire team will suffer in the long run as assignments are neglected, progress is forgotten, and efforts repeated. Students should begin journaling as soon as possible because it will take some time for organization and neatness to become the norm.
Successful product development requires Marketing, Technical Drawing, Production, and Formal Engineering Skills. Students will each be assigned one of these specialities to focus on. These are analogous to various types of professionals that contribute to engineering teams. Additionally, each student will be assigned a specific role on the project team. Specialties and Team Roles are NOT the same thing. On an industrial team, there may be several engineers each with their own specific responsibilities...one may be the project manager, another responsible for the testing phase, and all three may share equal responsibility during the design phase. There may also be several Marketers on the team. One serves as marketing project manager, another to coordinate printed media, and perhaps a specialist to coordinate Internet marketing. Many class assignments should vary according to the role and skill specialty that is assigned to each student. Though the roles should be assigned as quickly as possible, it is paramount that each student be assigned a role that fits him/her well. One that they will quickly take "ownership" of. Students should be surveyed and the results carefully reviewed by the teacher before assigning students to roles. Though students will assume a specialization for the duration of the major project, each student should eventually experience what it is like to work in each of the skill specialties. The more each student understands about the "other roles and other skill specialties," the more likely the student is to recognize how various engineering careers interact with one another in the real world. They should also gain an appreciation for the interaction between Engineering, Science, and Technology. Fundamentally, engineers apply scientific knowledge to create technologies that increase human efficacy in the world.
Throughout the class, we should take every opportunity to put all classroom activities into the context of exposing students to real-world engineering. It is so easy for students to think of daily assignments as randomly selected hurdles that they must overcome. It is important for class participants to understand that what they learn today is very relevant to their future whether they enter engineering, science, and technology fields or not. Keeping the class "fun" is actually the easy part. Students should be encouraged to reflect on the hard work and discipline that facilitated the "fun" of overcoming a significant challenge.
Finally, it is very important that the parents be fully informed about the atypical characteristics of the class including safety concerns, additional workload and outside of class responsibility, and the need for adult volunteers to help during team meetings.
Lead the class in discussing how things learned in this class may directly impact their future career choices. The discussions should include the basic role of engineering, science, and technology in society. It should briefly address the fundamental nature of educational requirements to pursue such careers. The teacher explains all the class protocols, rules of behavior, and expectations to the students. Survey the student preferences and capabilities in order to make decisions about assigned team roles. The teacher explains how teams in industry are comprised of various specialists. Lead the class in discussing the advantages and challenges of such a team effort.
and all content Copyright 2005-2006
All rights reserved. Use of material on this website
is subject to the curriculum license agreement.