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New York State Standards

The following New York science standards are excerpted from their Intermediate Level Science Core Curriculum. Complete text of these standards can be found at the New York Department of Education website. The core curriculum describes content and skills on which student’s get tested. Like many states, NY's assessment emphasizes the understanding of concepts and processes over the simple memorization of facts.

Standard 1 – Analysis, Inquiry, and Design

Students use engineering design, , scientific inquiry, and mathematical analysis to pose question, seek answers, and develop design solutions.

Engineering Design

Engineering design is an iterative process involving modeling and optimization (finding the best solution within given constraints). This process is used to develop technological solutions to problems within given constraints.

  • Iterative trials of design ideas is important in all design tasks, the Activity Chooser Chart gives insight into how easily iterations are performed in each task.
  • DITC describes techniques that help facilitate group discussion, brainstorming, and balancing teacher control with student autonomy.
  • Construction of models and drawings help in the development of a new design idea in DITC
  • Criteria & Constraints, typically specified in a Design Brief, force students to consider trade-offs when making design decisions.

Scientific Inquiry

A. The central purpose of scientific inquiry is to develop explanations of natural phenomena in a continuing creative process.

  • Following NSES' lead, in NY the process of scientific inquiry is seen as closely related to engineering design. The key difference is that science investigates nature and engineering inquires into the world's built environment.
B. Scientific inquiry involves testing proposed explanations using conventional techniques and procedures, while usually requiring considerable ingenuity.
  • Observing the performance of design prototypes to determine Key Design Criteria fits this standard. Measurement and experimentation help in developing Design Rules-of-Thumb that help make informed design decisions.
C. Observations made while testing proposed explanations, when analyzed using conventional and invented methods, provide new insights into phenomena.
  • Giving explanations for changes from one design iteration to another involves making reasoned arguments about the relationships of variables that have been studied in design tests.

Mathematical Analysis

A. Abstraction and symbolic representation are used to communicate mathematically.

  • Students are asked to use mathematical equations to describe relationships among variables in design tasks.
B. Deductive and inductive reasoning are used to reach mathematical conclusions.
  • To make reasonable and informed design decisions, students need to recognize patterns and trends in the data collected during design trials.
C. Critical thinking skills are used in the solution of mathematical problems
  • Students use appropriate materials and tools to solve more open-ended design tasks.
  • Using charts and graphs to solve problems can be helpful in design tasks found in DITC.

Standard 6 – Connecting Common Themes
Students need to understand common themes that connect math, science, and technology and apply them to other areas of learning.

A. Systems thinking can help people recognize commonalities between products by noting how parts of a system interrelate and combine to perform particular functions.

  • Stuff That Works! activities have learners note differences and similarities between engineering and natural systems, open and closed loops, and how the output of one part of a system becomes the input to another.

B. Models are simplified representations of objects, structures, or systems and can be used when analyzing, explaining, and designing.

C. Noting patterns of change is necessary when making predictions and doing diagnostic reasoning.

  • In DITC, students observe patterns in the way their Model Parachute descends, and the effects that changing the surface area of the chute has on performance. In the Baking Soda challenge, students observe the levels of carbon dioxide produced by various proportion of vinegar to baking soda. In Vehicles In Motion, They also observe how changing the wheel size of a coaster car effects its performance
D. To arrive at an optimal solution that meets criteria within constraints, designers often must make trade-offs.
  • Working within Criteria & Constraints is a hallmark of all of the design tasks as students consider Trade-offs when making design decisions.
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