Imagine, invent, create, test, and improve!
Prepare yourself for some challenging times in this exciting engineering series.
Design challenges are an awesome educational experience for students in which a problem is stated and students work to design a solution. This module gathers databot™ Design Challenge ideas and scenarios into one convenient location. If you have created your own challenge in your classroom, at home, or in your afterschool program that you’d like to share please contact us we will add it!
The Engineering Design Process
NASA has a deep appreciation for engineering as you might imagine – how else do we do all these fantastic things like launch satellites and land humans on the moon? A strong proponent of building a STEM pipeline of students interested in and capable of pursuing engineering careers, NASA provides a number of free outreach materials to promote engaging students early in STEM topics. Their Beginning Engineering, Science, and Technology (BEST) program provides lesson plans and how-to videos to help educators get going with fun and inexpensive design challenges that can be done with relatively simple materials.
If you are unfamiliar with the Design Challenge process, databot™ recommends following the BEST Engineering Design Process as shown in the graphic to the right.
- Ask. Students are presented with a problem or challenge scenario. They ask questions to narrow the scope of the challenge and clearly understand the problem at hand.
Engineering Design Process graphic from the NASA Beginning Engineering, Science , and Technology (BEST) program.
- Imagine. Students brainstorm and imagine possible solutions to the challenge. They might research existing solutions or previous attempts to solve the problem.
- Plan. From the list of brainstormed ideas, students narrow down the options and sketch or model the proposed approach. Ultimately they must select what they consider to be the single best option that has the highest likelihood of success. This idea will be the single solution they will prototype.
- Create. Students build a working prototype based on the design parameters.
- Experiment. Time for testing! Students experiment with the prototype and gather data to determine its strengths and weaknesses.
- Improve. After gathering the data for analysis and identifying areas of improvement, students implement improvements to their design.
databot™ for Design Challenges
databot™ is uniquely qualified to participate in a variety of Design Challenge scenarios due to an open architecture on three separate fronts!
- Physical. databot™ has some remarkable attributes that facilitate physical engineering integrations.
- Electronic. databot™ engineers built databot™ to easily integrate with other electronic devices through the use of standardized I/O.
- Software. databot™ runs on Arduino and as such is completely hackable and programmable – perfect for design challenges involving coding.
Let’s take a closer look.
databot™ Physical Attributes
databot™ loves to get physical and has the tools to do it! If you look closely at the base of databot™ you will notice there are some interesting design considerations in place including pin holes that fit with the LEGO system. databot™ also fits perfectly with fischertechnik, an incredible German-made engineering system, through precision designed grooves in its base. Finally, the databot™ kit includes a removable velcro plate that slides on easily and enables mounting on anything from drones to Roombas as well as a removable lanyard and clip that enables wearing, hanging, and swinging it.
All of these features and tools provide students with a variety of methods to physically integrate databot™ into their inventions. In addition, existing 3D files on the web provide the specs needed for students to design their own 3D printed connections to databot™, another great Design Challenge opportunity.
In addition to physical connections databot™ has all kinds of capabilities for integration with other systems. I2C and an an open A/D port are available for integration and all sensor addressing, port maps, and pin connections are provided in the Deep Geek section of our user manual. If you are interested in providing Design Challenges to students to integrate systems such as connecting your Sphero RVR to databot™ and creating an autonomous robot that responds to sensor data this is a great platform for it!
databot™ Software and Coding
databot™ shares DNA with Arduino, and is essentially one of the most popular Arduino project boards, the “Uno.” We’ve tidily organized the Uno architecture into five printed circuit boards and housed them in a crystal-clear polycarbonate cube that fits in the palm of your hand. Being Arduino based databot™ can be controlled and coded with readily available tools.
Using the standard Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment) software you can simply connect databot™ to your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer with a USB cable and immediately start talking to it in the Arduino language. Teachers and students can easily load up existing databot™ programs and run them with no coding expertise, or makers and computer science educators can write their own code, change the existing programs, and experiment to their heart’s content. It’s all open for exploration!
Ready? Explore Challenges in the Left Hand Menu!
How We Breathe, Molly Kampf. 2018.
UC Colorado Boulder, Teach Engineering. Lesson: Breathe In, Breathe Out
UC Colorado Boulder, Teach Engineering. Hands-on Activity: Create Model Working Lungs: Just Breathe.
Serendip Studio. Homeostasis and Negative Feedback – Concepts and Breathing Experiments
Serendip Studio. Homeostasis and Negative Feedback – Teacher Prep Notes
Khan Academy Video: The carbon cycle
Khan Academy Video: Meet the lungs
Khan Academy Video: Oxygen movement from alveoli to capillaries
Khan Academy Video: Inhaling and Exhaling
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NASA Engineering Design Process Resources can be found at their BEST website.
Stanford’s K12 Lab has some remarkable resources for Design Challenges as well as comprehensive PD programs. Check them out!