Hi. It’s Paul Andersen. And

this is disciplinary core idea ETS1B. It’s on developing possible solutions. So in the

last video I talked about really defining a problem. Making sure that you understand

all of the criteria and the constraints of a proper solution. But in this video I’m going

to talk about coming up with possible solutions. And there’s a famous problem called the candle

problem. And the candle problem is asked like this. Imagine I give you some matches, tacks

and a candle. And I want you to affix the candle to the wall and then light it. Well

I’m giving you a problem now. And so the next phase would be pretty open ended. You’re going

to come up with as many solutions as you possibly can. And so what are some possible solutions

you might come up with? Maybe you’ll melt the candle and try to stick that to the wall.

Maybe you’ll build a ledge out of the tacks. Maybe you’ll try to tac the wick and then

light it. Maybe you’ll try to kind of tac the candle. Maybe you’ll try to make an adhesive

out of the matches. Maybe you’ll try to use the box that the tacks are in. And so it’s

a real brainstorming process when you’re coming up with as many solutions as you possibly

can. Now in this problem there’s only one of those that will actually work. And that

is to use the box. So what’s our first step then once we’ve really defined what the problem

is and what are the constraints and criteria of a proper solution? It’s this whole brainstorming

process where we try to come up with as many solutions as we can. And this is just open

ended. Try to come up with as many solutions as you can. Your students should be fairly

familiar with this process. But after you’ve done that you want to kind of do what we did

in the last video. You want to start talking about the constraints and the criteria. Remember

the constraints are the needs of a solution. And the criteria are the things that we want.

And so as you start looking through proper solution, proper problem, you’re going to

find that some of these solutions simply are not going to work. And so you’re going to

throw those out. And we’re going to have some solutions that we’re then going to compare.

And so a good way to do that is to just put it up on a whiteboard. And then we’re going

to create some models. Now those models could be physical in nature. We could actually build

them. They could be scale models. Graphical models. Maybe it’s just data. Maybe it’s a

mathematical model. But we’re going to start developing as many of these models that we

can so we can start using that to compare each of our different solutions. And so a

really cool thing in engineering that helps out is computer assisted design. And so we

can model proper solutions and then we can actually build them. So we can use computer

assisted manufacturing, 3D printers to actually build a lot of these things. And then we can

see which one’s going to work before we actually go to building a solution. And so how do you

teach this in schools? What is your teaching progression? Well in the lower elementary

grades you want your students sketching as much as they can. You want them drawing out

possible solutions to problems that you are giving them. And you want that process to

be totally open-ended. We don’t judge solutions at this point. Next thing is you move into

the upper elementary school. You want to go kind of through this process when you’re coming

up with solutions. Students should be doing research. Now you could do research on the

internet, it’s a great place to start. But you also may want to do some market research

asking people questions. From there you go into a brainstorming process where you try

to come up with as many solutions as you can. And then finally you want your students building

models. Now those models don’t have to be physical models. They could be mathematical

models as well. As we move into middle school then we want to start going through this idea

of prototyping. And what is prototyping? Well it’s iterative. In other words it’s going

to go over and over and over. And so where does it begin? It begins with a design. So

we’ve done the research. We’ve done some brainstorming. Now we’ve got a design. What we want to do

is test that design. And so there’s many ways that we can test it. And we’ll talk more about

that in the next video. But after you’ve tested it based on the results, we’re going to modify

that solution. Or modify that model. From there we’re going to rebuild it. And then

we’re going to test our design. And then we’re going to modify it and rebuild it. And this

goes over and over and over again. And you really got to get into the prototyping as

quickly as you can. When you move into high school you want to start tackling complex

problems and complex solutions. Now in engineering they use what’s called a systems approach.

And so if you have a really complex solution or a complex problem like building a space

station, they break that into smaller groups. You’re going to have some research and design.

You’re going to have the people working on the electrical engineering. The mechanical

engineering. People working with the astronauts themselves. And so there’s a lot of different

pieces that are coming together. And a couple of the tools that are helpful are models.

So building proper models and then simulation. And so let me give you an example of this.

These are some buildings that were built. And then they modeled traffic patterns. And

so where people are going to walk from building to building. And then after you’ve done that

it would make sense to put in sidewalks after you know where people are going to walk. And

this is a flow chart that really gets to that. So if you’re doing this systems engineering,

if you’re trying to solve these complex problems, you start with the real system. You can preform

experiments on that. So we can gather data based on the system itself. But you also make

a model, perform simulations, construct theories. And all of these are working together to improve

the model, improve the theories, so we can come up with a better solution. And so as

our solutions become more complex, we need more tools. But it’s the same process that

we’re using in those lower elementary grades. And I hope that was helpful.