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STEM Beyond the School Day Series – Engineering Mindset 2

How Do You Solve a Problem?

Engineering Mindset #2: Children use a specific problem-solving process:

Our lives are filled with all sorts of lovely inventions that meet our needs with ease.  We have lights, computers, tools to make projects easier.  But how often do you pause to consider where they came from?  And if a young person asks you–”where did this tool come from?”  How would you answer?  As an educator it’s key to be able to say, ‘hey, let’s think about that.  Here’s how!’

Most of us probably regularly do some of this kind of thinking without even realizing it.  Here’s a great example of how it works in this video : How to Engineer a Taco Party.  So this is a great way to consider what you could add to your already existing skill set.  Maybe you don’t ask everyone to sample your tacos more than once, but if you’re designing a tool everyone will use, maybe you should.

You might also notice It’s kind of like the scientific method, but is definitely designed for finding the best how to meet a problem rather than just answering your question.  Here is a really good explanation of the differences and the whys between the two processes.  

If you’re feeling brave and looking for an activity, this lesson is a great way to engage your program participants in working through what the engineering design process is and how you can all use it going forward to find solutions to your problems.   

And this resource is a great way to start applying this process in a hands-on activity with great educator support resources.

Need supporting worksheets?  Check here!

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