Solving Problems: One 3d Model at a Time

5 Dec

In my PLTW Design and Modeling class, I have an assignment called the “Client Design Project.”  The assignment is introduced after the students have mastered sketching techniques like isometric and orthogonal drawings, and after the students have created several dimensioned models in Autodesk Inventor (a trophy, a foam block tower, a pegboard toy, a bracket, etc.).

The assignment begins with this worksheet: ClientDesignProject, which is a graphic organizer that helps the student step through the engineering design cycle.

  1. For the first step in the project,  the student is to interview an adult client in order to discover an issue/annoyance/need that the student may be able to help out with via a designed product.
  2. Once the problem has been identified, then the student brainstorms three possible solutions and sketches them out.
  3. Next the student chooses one solution and creates a detailed 3d dimensioned sketch of the solution before modeling the design in Autodesk Inventor.
  4. Now we 3d print it. The student designer is so excited and proud to hold their creation in their hands, and they can’t wait to share it with their client.
  5. After talking and experiencing the product, the student reflects on changes they would make if they continued working on the project.
  6. Lastly, the student prepares a slide presentation that chronicles their design process and presents it to the class.

Note: Next time I do this project with the kids, I think I will have them start their presentation document right after step 2. And then I will have them share the problem description and brainstormed ideas with the entire class to get feedback which may help them improve the solution.

This class project has brought a lot of success. Last year, an 8th grade student, Alexis Janosik, designed a white board marker holder for her math teacher after she noticed that when lecturing he’s always wasting time by searching  around the white board tray and his desk for a particular color pen in order to better describe a math problem. The product is currently patent pending: see Mercury News Article.

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 11.37.52 AM

Math teacher  now uses Alexis’ white board pen holder on daily basis.

Other client design projects have included Apple Watch stands, replacement parts for broken household appliances, and many others creative ideas. See photos below.

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 11.54.50 AMScreen Shot 2015-12-05 at 11.57.58 AM

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