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Summer SAVY, Session 1 Day 1, Industrial Engineering (3rd – 4th)

Posted by on Monday, June 10, 2024 in blog, SAVY.

Industrial Engineers and their Families,  

What an amazing first day! We began our work by playing with abstract ideas to develop working definitions of important concepts. After a series of debates and explorations, we agreed 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.  

Tomorrow, our industrial engineers will be presented with a problem: a nearby ecosystem has been overrun with invasive species causing an imbalance. To solve the problem, the ecosystem needs a new apex predator. Engineers will sketch 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 will practice the habits of engineers like attending to precision by labeling and using specific vocabulary and diagrams. To show an advanced understanding of systems, they will explain how their apex predator design is like a system in a paragraph.  

Here is the prompt: 

Think like an industrial engineer. Your mission is to design the ultimate apex predator, a creature that reigns at the top of the food chain, by incorporating four out of six simple machines into its body.   

  • Choose four of the six simple machines to incorporate into your apex predator’s body design.  
  • Think about how each machine works and consider the advantages it provides in terms of speed, strength, agility, or any other feature that will help your predator excel.  
  • Sketch and label your predator, clearly showing where each simple machine is integrated and how it functions within the creature’s body.  
  • Write a brief explanation of why you chose each particular machine and how it enhances the predator’s capabilities.  
  • Explain how your predator is a system.  

Your design should reflect a deep understanding of how simple machines work and how they can be used to make things powerful and efficient. It should show an understanding of systems and apply the habits of an engineer. Be creative, but practical.  

Tonight you could ask your engineers:  

  • Review: What is a system? What is an example in our home? Have students identify 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 plan. What simple machines will you include? What is the function of the simple machine? How will 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