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Rapid Design through Virtual and Physical Prototyping

Carnegie Mellon University
Spring 2010

Course Index

Project 3: Engaging Children in Engineering

Tuesday March 2Very preliminary project ideas due
Thursday March 18Preliminary project proposal due
Tuesday March 23Project description web page due
Thursday March 25Proof of concept prototype due
Thursday April 1First functional prototype due
Tuesday April 6First draft of student activity sheets due
SATURDAY April 10  First test of functional prototype at Moving 4th into Engineering
Thursday April 22Fully functional prototype presentation due
Tuesday April 27Project web site and complete documentation due
Thursday April 29Complete project due
Wednesday May 5Final presentation at Meeting of the Minds

For project 3, you will design, build and test prototypes of a toy, game, or activity that engages children in learning about an aspect of engineering.

Your project must:

  • engage a child's curiosity to learn
  • appeal to all types of children, with differing levels of knowledge and abilities
  • be safe and durable
  • use appropriate and sustainable technology
  • employ principles of universal design
  • include at least one part manufactured by the team

Very Preliminary Project Ideas: Tuesday March 3

By the end of class on Tuesday March 2, each team will make a very informal presentation of the ideas they have come up with. Each team should be ready to present at least three ideas for projects. You should have several ideas to present. You can start with your favorite, but you should have several backups in case your first choice doesn't work for some reason. You should be clear about what the activity is and what the children will learn.

Preliminary Project Idea: Thursday March 18

Each group will make an informal presentation of the idea they plan to pursue. This session is designed to get the teams on the right track early, so no one invests a lot of effort in an idea that might not be suitable.

You should plan on changing and improving your ideas as you get feedback from me, your classmates, children, your friends, etc.

Project Description: Due Tuesday March 23

By March 23, each group must create a web page that answers the following questions:

  1. What is the engineering concept that the children will learn about?
  2. What will the children do and how will they learn by interacting with your project?
  3. How does your project meet the requirements given above?
  4. What supplies will be needed? What needs to be manufactured? If appropriate, include a sketch of the activity.

Proof of concept prototype: Due Thursday March 25

Each team must bring a proof-of-concept prototype of their activity to class. The purpose is to see whether the exhibit will work and to get more concrete reactions and suggestions from the other teams. The prototype can be made out of anything and can be ugly as all get out, but it should demonstrate the concept and convince you that your idea probably will or probably won't work.

Sequence of prototypes in April:

First functional prototype due Thursday April 1
First draft of student activity sheets due Tuesday April 6
Fully functional prototype presentation due Thursday April 22

The details on these prototypes will be added later. We will have groups of children coming to class to test the projects. Your first test with children will be at Moving 4th into Engineering on Saturday April 10th. Throughout this time, you will be refining and improving your activity.

Everyone in the class must register for Meeting of the Minds by Wednesday April 7, but you can't register until you have an abstract approved by me. We'll talk about this more in class.

Complete web site due Tuesday April 27

Your web site should document your project, explaining what it is teaching and how it works. This web site is for external consumption, so you should not include the design process information that you put in your portfolio.

Completed project due Thursday April 29

By Thursday April 29, you must turn in your completed project

Meeting of the Minds: Wednesday May 5

The final presentation of your project will be during Meeting of the Minds. All the projects will be set up in the Conan Room. More details to follow.


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