Design Practices and Misconceptionsby: David Crismond

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This article describes beginner habits and misconceptions related to design practices. Once teachers are aware of these habits and misconceptions, they can more easily recognize them and work to remedy them through instruction.

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Reviews (3)
  • on Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:00 PM

As we realign curricula to incorporate more engineering and inquiry design, we must also adjust our approach to the "scientific method." I could really appreciate this approach, because it also aligns very nicely with what other disciplines use for a design framework, including software and engineering product design. The approach uses eight practices for understanding ill-defined problems, and designing and developing approaches to solve them. Issues that beginners encounter - like assuming an easy solution based on limited information, prototype testing that confuses two or more variable effects, developing appropriate models, and engaging in argument from evidence - are not only problems that students encounter in science classrooms, but adults encounter everyday in real life. We all know that the new standards change the playing field - the classroom, but the practices described in this article give our students a head start on solving real problems using an authentic approach.

Jennifer Rahn  (Delafield, WI)
Jennifer Rahn (Delafield, WI)

  • on Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:41 AM

Students just starting out with a design challenge may have some misconceptions or habits that prevent them from having a good experience with the design challenge. The author of this article describes many "habits or misconceptions" for teacher to be aware of in students. The author then gives concise, well written ideas of how to address these problem areas.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:57 PM

This article helps to identify those potential design challenge misconceptions that our students may have when they begin to explore materials and look at design criteria and constraints. With the NGSS implementation close at hand, the information shared in this article is pertinent and timely. The ideas of fair-test experiments and how to help students avoid haphazard or trial- and error designing are addressed. The article shares the 8 different practices (from the National Research Council’s 2012 A Framework for K-12 Science Education book) and how students might be misdirected in how to implement them. I found the chart (Figure 2, p. 53) that compared the engineering design processes model to our present scientific inquiry processes model very useful for seeing similarities and differences between the two. The Informed Design Rubric (that can be accessed online) should be very helpful for teachers as they determine the level of engineering design expertise their students practice.

Carolyn M  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn M (Buffalo Grove, IL)

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