HOME : About DITC : Movie List : Links : Bibliography : Movie Comparison : Site Map : Search
Getting Started Select Design Task Learn About Design
MOVIE 1:   3 minutes 49 seconds
Design & Inquiry

According to National Science Education Standards students' doing technological design should be able to solve simple design problems, analyze technological products and systems, and assess product quality. "This standard helps establish design as the technological parallel to inquiry in science." Both scientific inquiry and design are included in the National Science Education Standards. Scientific inquiry aims to study nature, while technological design proposes solutions to human needs. Both involve open-ended discovery and the use ideas creatively to explore the physical world.

Few dispute that engineers and scientists both do design. Engineers create products to meet human needs, while scientists devise instruments and experiments to test their theories about nature. The strategies of engineers and scientists in solving design tasks have been studied, and are quite different. Engineers tend to learn about a problem they face by proposing solutions to it, while scientists try to identify the appropriate law or theory first, then attempt to solve the problem.

MOVIE 1 starts with MIT's Woodie Flowers describing the role of testing from a designer's perspective. Vanderbilt's Richard Lehrer presents the idea that planning whole investigations is the key design challenge for science teachers. Ed Goldman grapples with the question of whether the Model Parachute task was actually a design task, or a scientific inquiry, or a blend of both. Task authenticity is a big concern for tech ed teachers: Is designing a model parachute, or a cardboard chair, real and relevant to students? Are the contrlled variable experiments that students conduct different from the approaches of professional engineers and scientists?

Return To Top