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Getting Started Select Design Task Learn About Design
MOVIE 1:   2 minutes 20 seconds MOVIE 2:   8 minutes 34 seconds

Early Brainstorm Ideas

As with many design challenges, you can have students generate design ideas at various stages of a lesson: right after they read about the challenge in the Design Brief, after a series of taught lessons on simple machines, or after doing hands-on investigations with machines. Earl Carlyon chose to have students generate ideas for machines after completing a few demos and the reading of the challenge. In MOVIE 1, you see him using the idea of a Pin-Up session, taken from the Learning By Design's set of teaching strategies, for having students present ideas to the rest of the class. What added information do the simple sketches students made provide to others? Where they helpful in communicating the fruits of what is called "conceptual designing"? In MOVIE 2, you see Mike Ryan review his students' initial design ideas that they generated for homework in a group-circle discussion.

Listen to the ideas that Earl's students present. Some ideas hold the potential of offering usable Mechanical Advantage (MA), while others do not. Notice how Earl responds to both good and bad suggestions. Notice also how certain ideas propagated through the class -- how would you respond to a less-than-helpful trend that "catches on" in a class? (See Parachute Collections for another teacher's approach to dealing with this perennial issue.)

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