Introducing Inventions & the Engineering Design Process

My 5th graders and I kicked off our 3D Design & Engineering unit this week with a viewing episode of Bill Nye The Science Guy – S04E17: Inventions. (You can find it on Netflix and YouTube) The program does a great job of engaging them with humor, history and “try this at home” challenges. I loved it as a kid and I was surprised at how well it holds up to today’s young audiences.

While they watched, I asked the students to jot down some notes regarding the most important themes from the episode. I gave them a few prompts:

  • They tell us “Inventing is a process”. What do they mean by that?
  • Why is the process also referred to as a cycle?
  • How many times might inventors have to loop through the cycle to make their idea into a successful invention?
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