The engineering design process is a method by which teams of engineers and scientists work together to develop solutions to problems. As with scientific investigations it is important to first identify the problem that needs to be addressed. Within the engineering design process it is also necessary to consider the design constraints that must be met and the overall desired outcome of the final product. A major step in the design process is the testing and modifications that a model or prototype must undergo until the final design is approved. Within the steps of the engineering design process is it often necessary to return to previous steps and readdress the problem from a different angle. Below you will find a diagram of the general steps followed within the design process as well as a brief description of each step.
1. State the Problem: The first step is to identify the problem that needs a solution.
2. Generate Ideas: Brainstorm possible ideas that might be developed as a solution to the problem.
3. Select a Solution: From the list of proposed ideas select one solution that seems to address the problem while meeting the required design constraints.
4. Build the Item: Build the model or prototype selected.
5. Evaluate: Test the designed product to see if it meets the requirements of the desired solution. Make necessary modifications and continue to re-test the design until the final design successfully addresses the problem while staying within the required design constraints. Sometimes an idea simply will not work and it becomes necessary to return to the generate ideas stage of the process.
6. Present Results: Once the team feels confident that the design successfully addresses the problem within the required constraints it is time to present the final design.
Links for Engineering in the Classroom
Engineer a Satellite (Includes background information and activity)