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Summer SAVY Session 3, Day 1 – Industrial Engineering: Machines at Work

Posted by on Monday, June 26, 2023 in blog, SAVY.

Day 1:  Industrial Engineers and their Families,

What an amazing first day! We have begun our work by playing with abstract ideas to develop working definitions of important concepts. After a series of debates and explorations, we agree to these generalizations to guide our course of study:
  • Anything that people design to solve a problem is technology.
  • Engineers design and create technology.
  • Anyone can engineer.
  • A system is a set of things (input/output) working together (interactions) to solve problems, therefore a system can be technology.
  • An industrial engineer works to improve technology AND systems.
In the afternoon, we read an Engineering is Elementary text “Aisha Makes Work Easier” to gain insight into what an industrial engineer does. The text also helped us review simple machines and understand the relationship between systems and subsystems. In the text, Aisha compares parts of animals at the Boston Museum of Science to simple machines; for example, she recognizes a T-Rex’s teeth function as wedges.
Finally, our budding industrial engineers were presented with a problem: a nearby ecosystem has been overrun with invasive species, causing imbalance. To solve the problem, the ecosystem needs a new apex predator. Engineers sketched a design for an apex predator made of simple machines to solve the problem, sort of like Aisha’s thinking in the text. On their blueprints, they practiced the habits of engineers like attending to precision by labeling and using specific vocabulary and diagrams. To show an advanced understanding of systems, they explained how their apex predator design acts like a system in a paragraph.
Tonight, you could ask your engineers:
  • Review: What is a system? What is an example in our home? Have students identify the input, output, boundaries, and interactions of the system.
  • Think like an Industrial Engineer: What is our biggest problem in the morning? What system, or set of things/steps working together to solve a problem, might make our mornings more efficient?
  • Design: Explain your apex predator design. What simple machines did you include? What is the function of the simple machine? How does your predator solve the ecosystem’s problem? How is your predator like a system?
I can’t wait to see you tomorrow!
Ms. Amber Whiting