Module 11: Different by Design
In Different by Design, students take on the challenge of redesigning an existing product. They first consider how the features and functions of a product are directly related to consumer needs. They learn about the procedures that design teams use to develop products, including the screening and scoring of potential concepts to find the one that best matches the team’s goal. Students then complete a basic cost analysis of a product, addressing the economic factors that affect a product’s development. They learn basic principles of industrial design and consider how such factors as appearance and user-friendliness may influence both a company’s image and a product’s success.
Students are also introduced to the idea of intellectual property rights, and they conduct searches for patents. Finally, students learn how to visually represent a design idea to different audiences, from tradespeople to consumers, using technical drawings and illustrations.
Throughout Different by Design, students work in teams to apply the design tools they’ve learned to a product of their choice. Teams compare and contrast different brands and models of a similar product, exploring how each meets customers’ needs. At the conclusion of the module, teams present a complete plan for a redesigned product. This module teaches students how to think and work like engineers: They learn techniques used to turn customer feedback into useful design information and how the creative aspects of the design process can fulfill customers’ needs in unique ways.