One key goal of using design activities is to have
students make design decisions in an informed, versus
haphazard or unconscious, way. "Informed designing"
means knowing and applying the science and engineering
ideas related to the object to make predictions and
to make credible design decisions.
Students can do design challenges solely with unarticulated
craft knowledge and still come up with top performing
products. Explanations need to be included in what students
make when designing. Getting them to explain their design
decisions can reveal prior knowledge that you may want
to address in class lessons or team meetings.
This movie focuses on the tech ed student who became the controversial
winner of Goldman's model parachute competition (see Day
5 - Final Contest and Day
6 - Looking vs. Seeing). Listen especially to his
explanations for design choices. When does he seem to
show real understanding, and when not? When does he most
and least seem to be an "informed designer"?
Do you notice contradictions between what he says and
does? Did he always follow his teacher's advice? How would
you talk to him about his work and what goals would you
set for his future development?