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Learning Design Process

VEX IQ Curriculum - Your First Robot

Unit Idea Book Pages: Learning Design Process

The Your First Robot unit also comes with Idea Book pages that help guide you through your first robot build and help you to learn about design process.

Engineering was defined in the It’s Your Future unit as using practical & scientific knowledge to create solutions for identified problems. In that unit we also learned that engineers often use an engineering notebook to help them think about and solve problems. However, if questions and instructions aren’t already on the page, what does an engineer write/draw in that notebook?

Well, engineers use a design process that is a series of steps that can be followed to help solve a problem and design a solution for something. This is similar to the “Scientific Method” that is taught to young scientists. There is no single universally accepted design process. Most engineers have their own twist for how the process works. The process is a cycle that generally starts with a problem and ends with a solution, but steps can vary.

When simplified, the design process can be seen as a three-step loop:

Step 1: Think about a problem or generate an idea. Don’t forget to write it down and/or draw it. Sometimes the problem or idea is given to you, but sometimes you come up with the problem or idea on your own.

Step 2: This is where you take action and “do” something to solve the problem or try to prove your idea. In our lessons, this is where you will build your potential solution.

Step 3: Test what you did in Step 2.

Is your problem fully solved? In testing, if you conclude the problem is not fully solved, then you have something more to think about. This means you write down or draw your next problem (that you see in testing) and repeat the cycle until your problem is fully solved. Always keep in mind that problems ARE NOT failures. They are an expected part of the design process!

In this unit you will use one Idea Book page for each “Think-Do-Test loop” you need to solve your given problem of following directions to build your first functional robot. The prompts and questions in the Idea Book Pages will lead you through the robot build, preparing you for full engineering notebook use when you make all of the design decisions in the future. Now, build your first robot!