Engineering Design and Development
Engineering Design and Development (EDD) gives students an opportunity to exercise the skills they have developed not only in their PLTW classes, but in other classes and in their personal experiences in general. Students will work in teams to solve a problem of their choosing. EDD is not focused on producing a marketable process or product, though this can and does happen using the design process. EDD is not intended to be an “invention class” or a “patent generating class” but rather a class that centers on using, documenting, and working through the engineering design process to address a problem. The end result should always be driven by the process rather than an individual or team’s skill sets, opinions, or personal preferences. As an example, students with an interest in electronics and aeronautics who apply the design process to address pilot errors may find that their results point to an ergonomic solution centered on organizing and displaying information in the cockpit rather than developing a new piece of instrumentation or a new control device. Others interested in chemistry and medicine may find that redesigning the way people enter and are processed through an emergency room may be a more effective way to address the rate of disease transmission in a hospital than designing a new chemical disinfectant. Because the focus is on the problem and using the design process, the topic choices for students are infinite.
EDD is about the journey of seeking a well-justified original solution to a real-world problem. Some solutions will prove to have merit as a potential solution, but when tested, will prove to have little value in solving the problem. Some solution attempts will prove to cause as many new problems as they solve, and some will prove to have great merit toward solving the problem in the end. No one will know the solution outcome at the beginning of the journey, but all groups will move through the problem solving process and gain skills they will be able to implement in any profession for the rest of their lives.