Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 3-12, students explore BrainPOP resources to learn about the Engineering Design Process (EDP). Using what they learn, students apply EDP to solve a problem, and then share their steps and outcome in a BrainPOP-style movie.  

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Lesson Plan Next Generation Science Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Share what they know about EDP, or how they’ve used it before.
  2. Watch a movie about EDP and explore BrainPOP resources.
  3. Apply EDP, using a graphic organizer to identify their steps.
  4. Make a movie describing their experience.

Materials:

  • Internet access for BrainPOP
  • Interactive whiteboard
  • Class set of the EDP graphic organizer

Vocabulary:

contraptions, inspiration, alternative, flicker, practical, durable

Preparation:

Preview the movie Engineering Design Process to plan for any adaptations.  Make copies of the Engineering Design Process graphic organizer.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Write “Engineering Design Process” on the whiteboard or other display.  Alternatively you can open Make-Map. Ask students what they know about EDP.  Younger students may not know anything about it, which is ok. You can ask them to make educated guesses of what it was about.
  2. Display the Engineering Design Process topic on the whiteboard. Tell students that today they will learn about the Engineering Design Process, or EDP-- a series of steps for solving a problem, that can even lead to inventions or improvements on inventions.  
  3. Read aloud, or have a volunteer read the summary that appears under the player. Ask students to think of inventions they know and identify what problems they solve.
  4. Show the movie to the whole class once through without pausing. Then, working alone or in pairs, encourage students to identify a problem they’d like to solve. Point out that it need not be a big problem or a complicated one, like air pollution or endangered species! Give examples, like designing socks that don’t slip or inventing a mechanism to feed your fish when you’re not home.. You can have a class brainstorm to come up with ideas.
  5. Next, distribute the EDP graphic organizer to each student or pair. Review each step of the process: Identify, Imagine, Plan, Create, and Test. Encourage students to watch the movie again on their own as needed during their design process to remind them of each step. Instruct them to fill in the graphic organizer as they go through the process, taking notes on each step, such as noting the problem in Identify; listing possible solutions in Imagine; identifying materials in Plan, etc.
  6. You can guide students with questions and prompts at each step as follows:
    • Identify: What problem do you want to solve? What are your constraints?
    • Imagine: What are some possible solutions? Whis is best?
    • Plan: Make a diagram or drawing of your solution. What materials do you need?
    • Create: Use your plan to create your solution. 
    • Test: Test it!
    • Improve: What’s working? What doesn’t work? What could work better? Revise your design make it better and test again!
  7. After students have completed the process—whether or not their design was successful—have them tell the story of their process using Make-a-Movie. If their design did not solve the problem, encourage them to include in the movie why that happened, and what they could do to iterate, or change the design.
  8. Have students present their movies to the class.
  9. As a conclusion, have students take the EDP Quiz to assess their understanding of the process.
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