Design - Bobcat Laboratories
 
Today, we discussed the idea that when we want to engineer something, it is best to develop a design plan.  Simply using resources to build something that is needed without first developing a plan can waste valuable resources and time by having to rely on trial and error.  

We identified that the design process is iterative (meaning that it is a cyclical process) and that designs are never finished being adapted to try and make them better.  The steps to the design process are as follows:
  1. Identify a problem.
  2. Create an idea to solve the problem.
  3. Conduct literature research to learn the background of the idea.
  4. Develop a design plan.
  5. Build a prototype of the design.
  6. Test the prototype.
  7. Collect performance data.
  8. Evaluate the data.
  9. Repeat steps 1-9, as needed, to reach an acceptable level of performance.


To begin practicing with this method, we discussed an upcoming assignment for designing catapults. Many of us were excited to get the materials and get working on it. However, the first parts of the task were to do steps 1-3.  We are all currently doing some research into how catapults and other ancient war machines were designed, that way we don't have to re-invent the entire machine.  More to come on this project in the near future.



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    Mr. Oliver is a middle school science teacher at Bitburg Middle School, Bitburg, Germany.  He has been a certified wildlife biologist for 18 years, enjoys all forms of outdoor activity and spending time with his wife.  He has two dogs (a Yellow Lab and a black Standard Poodle).

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