Engineering Redesign: How can we make it better?

The Importance of Redesign

This week we put the fundamental engineering design concepts we learned last visit to the test in a redesign challenge! The challenge was to fix a flawed design for a bookcase such that it would be able to hold and transport books through a school. We had to take several constraints into consideration including the size of the dictionaries, the dimensions of the classroom door frames, and the size of the school hallways. Once the teams identified the flaws and discussed their redesign they built their prototype using Legos! The teams worked together great and even did some testing and redesign as they built. Then we had a chance to test out the new bookcase designs to see if they were able to perform the task and how they stacked up against designs made by other teams.

Aside from redesigning bookcases, we learned about how important it is for engineers to redesign things that have already been built. Engineers that have come up with their own prototypes (original designs) still have to test it and will probably have to redesign it many times before they are satisfied with their creation. The frequent release of updated car models and cell phones is a great example of this continuous process of redesign.

Once everyone presented their bookcase redesign and tested it on our mock classroom floor mat, we all discussed which design features worked well and how we could improve our designs even further. It was really interesting to see what each team built; we all had the same task, but we had different ways of solving the problem. The best part of this activity was that there was no single correct solution! 

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