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Designing Solutions

Each proposed solution results from a process of balancing competing criteria of desired functions, technological feasibility, cost, safety, esthetics, and compliance with legal requirements. 


K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12
Use tools and/or materials to design and/or build a device that solves a specific problem or a solution to a specific problem.

Generate and/or compare multiple solutions to a problem.
Apply scientific ideas to solve design problems.

Generate and compare multiple solutions to a problem based on how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the design solution
Undertake a design project, engaging in the design cycle, to construct and/or implement a solution that meets specific design criteria and constraints.

Optimize performance of a design by prioritizing criteria, making tradeoffs, testing, revising, and retesting
Apply scientific ideas, principles, and/or evidence to provide an explanation of phenomena and solve design problems, taking into account possible unanticipated effects.

Design, evaluate, and/or refine a solution to a complex real-world problem, based on scientific knowledge, student-generated sources of evidence, prioritized criteria, and tradeoff considerations.

Introduction to SEP6: Designing Solutions

from NGSS Appendix F: Science and Engineering Practices in the NGSS

Engineering design, a systematic process for solving engineering problems, is based on scientific knowledge and models of the material world. Each proposed solution results from a process of balancing competing criteria of desired functions, technological feasibility, cost, safety, esthetics, and compliance with legal requirements. There is usually no single best solution but rather a range of solutions. Which one is the optimal choice depends on the criteria used for making evaluations.
The goal of science is to construct explanations for the causes of phenomena. Students are expected to construct their own explanations, as well as apply standard explanations they learn about from their teachers or reading. The Framework states the following about explanation: 

The goal of engineering is to solve problems. Designing solutions to problems is a systematic process that involves defining the problem, then generating, testing, and improving solutions. This practice is described in the Framework as follows. 

In engineering, the goal is a design rather than an explanation. The process of developing a design is iterative and systematic, as is the process of developing an explanation or a theory in science. Engineers’ activities, however, have elements that are distinct from those of scientists. These elements include specifying constraints and criteria for desired qualities of the solution, developing a design plan, producing and testing models or prototypes, selecting among alternative design features to optimize the achievement of design criteria, and refining design ideas based on the performance of a prototype or simulation. (NRC Framework, 2012, p. 68-69) 


Performance Expectations Associated with SEP6: Designing Solutions


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