STEM II Applications Syllabus

STEM II: Applications is a project-based learning experience for students who wish to further explore the dynamic range of STEM fields introduced in STEM I: Foundation. Building on the content and critical thinking frameworks of STEM I, this course asks students to apply the scientific inquiry and engineering design processes to a course-long project selected by the instructor with the help of student input. Instructors design a project in one of two broad pathways (traditional sciences or engineering) that reflects the interest of the class as a whole; the students then apply the steps of the scientific inquiry or the engineering design process throughout the course to ask questions, test hypotheses, model solutions, and communicate results. In some cases, instructors may be able to design hybrid projects that employ elements of both the scientific inquiry and the engineering design process. Upon completion of this course, proficient students will have a thorough understanding of how scientists and engineers research problems and methodically apply STEM knowledge and skills; and they will be able to present and defend a scientific explanation and/or an engineering design solution to comprehensive STEM-related scenarios.

1) Determine the engineer’s role in developing solutions to design problems that are justified by scientific knowledge. Research a known engineer and present in an informative paper, oral presentation, or other format his/her designs and explain how they influenced technology in his/her field. Include an outline of how the design process was used in his/her work.


2) Ask clear, relevant questions that lead to defining a design problem. For example, questions should be testable and explore the requirements of a problem solution, but not define the methodology to solve the problem.


3) Brainstorm for several problem solutions, then conduct research using various sources (e.g., articles, end-uses, textbooks) to generate more solution ideas. Justify ideas using evidence from the sources.

4) Develop a design brief that will guide a design process and follow responsible ethical practices. For example, the design brief should outline a problem definition, design statement, criteria, constraints, and deliverables.

5) Create models to illustrate design criteria and represent processes, mechanisms, or systems. For example, models can be drawings, mathematical representations, or computer simulations.


6) Identify and sketch at least three alternative solutions, to a problem, that consider analyses such as mechanical and electrical systems. For example, computer modeling can be used to analyze the effect of stress and strain on a beam.


7) Conduct iterations of modeling a solution to a design problem, demonstrate that design criteria are met, and select a reliable design approach.


8) Develop a design proposal to create prototypes for testing. The proposal should provide details such as drawings with dimensions, materials, and construction process.


9) Outline testing procedures that identify type of data (e.g., number of trials, cost, risk, and time) that is needed to produce reliable measurements and the specifications (e.g., effectiveness, efficiency, and durability) to determine whether a design has exceeded or failed expectations.


10) Use mathematics to represent and solve engineering problems. For example, simple limit cases can be used to determine if a model is realistic.


11) Evaluate data and identify any limitations of data analysis. Using this information, determine whether a design solution is optimal or should be refined and tested again.


12) Compare and contrast the data results from testing multiple design solutions. For example, consider how well each design solution meets the design criteria and constraints.


13) Develop an optimal design solution that is justified by data analysis and scientific knowledge, and meets ethical and design criteria and constraints.


14) Develop a design document to communicate the final design solution and how well it meets the design criteria and constraints. For example, the design document can include charts, graphs, calculations, engineering drawings, as well as information regarding marketing, distribution, and sales. For example, conduct a STEM forum, present engineering design briefs, and provide evidence to support arguments for or against design solutions.


15)  Accurately read and interpret safety rules, including but not limited to rules published by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), rules pertaining to electrical safety, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines, and state and national code requirements. Be able to distinguish between the rules and explain why certain rules apply.

16)  Identify and explain the intended use of safety equipment available in the classroom. For example, demonstrate how to properly inspect, use, and maintain safe operating procedures with tools and equipment. Incorporate safety procedures and complete safety test with 100 percent accuracy.