Engineers often draw the system or design they propose to build before they build it. Design drawings often are hand sketches or computer schematics that help engineers plan out a project. Depending on your project, you might have one or several design drawings – for example, one for the physical layout, one for the water flow, and one for the electrical layout.
As an example of project design drawings through to a completed project, here is a sequence for a university student’s solar power vehicle project.
- First Design Drawing
- Computer Schematic
- Physical Prototype
- Electrical Layout
A prototype is an early model of a product that is used to test your design.
Throughout the iterative design process, engineers may build many prototypes, with each one an improvement of the last. Prototypes can be used to help you plan for a final product, so they can be made out of any material even paper or cardboard. A prototype is never perfect, and always can be improved in some way.
See the examples of prototypes below.
See this video for how to connect the solar panel, charge controller, and battery.
- First, finding an innovative engineering project can be difficult, try to embrace the challenge.
- Have a discussion with your team. What issues do you care about? What problem would you like to fix?
- Choose an issue you are passionate about. Think of a food issue to address that would help you, your family, or your community.
Feel free to check out our Challenge Learning Hub to get inspiration for your project.
Reach out to your Greenway mentor. Their job is to answer your engineering questions and help you work to overcome the challenges that you encounter. Also, visit our Challenge Learning Hub for some helpful engineering tutorials.
I am an educator. I am interested in organizing a team for the challenge, but I don’t know how to integrate it into my classroom. How have educators integrated the challenge into their classrooms in the past?
In different locations, groups have participated in different ways. Some teachers used the challenge as a “unit” in their class, with a few weeks of dedicated class time. Some set aside a day a week to their students for several weeks to work on the challenge. Others supported the challenge as an afterschool activity. We have designed the timeline to be flexible to the needs and constraints of different sites.
As an in-class project, the challenge is compatible with the learning standards for science, math and CTEs in Vermont. See examples of related standards here.