Career & Technical Education

Engineering Design

Key idea: Engineering design is an iterative process involving modeling and optimization used to develop technological solutions to problems within given constraints.

Performance Indicators


Students will:

  • describe objects, imaginary or real, that might be modeled or made differently and suggest ways in which the objects can be changed, fixed, or improved
  • investigate prior solutions and ideas from books, magazines, family, friends, neighbors, and community members
  • generate ideas for possible solutions, individually and through group activity; apply age-appropriate mathematics and science skills; evaluate the ideas and determine the best solution; and explain reasons for the choices
  • plan and build, under supervision, a model of the solution using familiar materials, processes, and hand tools
  • discuss how best to test the solution; perform the test under teacher supervision; record and portray results through numerical and graphic means; discuss orally why things worked or didn't work; and summarize results in writing, suggesting ways to make the solution better


Students will:

  • identify needs and opportunities for technical solutions from an investigation of situations of general or social interest
  • locate and utilize a range of printed, electronic, and human information resources to obtain ideas
  • consider constraints and generate several ideas for alternative solutions, using group and individual ideation techniques (group discussion, brainstorming, forced connections, role play); defer judgment until a number of ideas have been generated; evaluate (critique) ideas; and explain why the chosen solution is optimal
  • develop plans, including drawings with measurements and details of construction, and construct a model of the solution, exhibiting a degree of craftsmanship
  • in a group setting, test their solution against design specifications, present and evaluate results, describe how the solution might have been modified for different or better results, and discuss tradeoffs that might have to be made


Students will:

  • initiate and carry out a thorough investigation of an unfamiliar situation and identify needs and opportunities for technological invention or innovation
  • identify, locate, and use a wide range of information resources including subject experts, library references, magazines, videotapes, films, electronic data bases and online services, and discuss and document through notes and sketches how findings relate to the problem
  • generate creative solution ideas, break ideas into the significant functional elements, and explore possible refinements; predict possible outcomes using mathematical and functional modeling techniques; choose the optimal solution to the problem, clearly documenting ideas against design criteria and constraints; and explain how human values, economics, ergonomics, and environmental considerations have influenced the solution
  • develop work schedules and plans which include optimal use and cost of materials, processes, time, and expertise; construct a model of the solution, incorporating developmental modifications while working to a high degree of quality (craftsmanship)
  • in a group setting, devise a test of the solution relative to the design criteria and perform the test; record, portray, and logically evaluate performance test results through quanitative, graphic, and verbal means; and use a variety of creative verbal and graphic techniques effectively and persuasively to present conclusions, predict impacts and new problems, and suggest and pursue modifications
Last Updated: March 17, 2011