These resources have been reviewed and selected by STEM Learning’s team of education specialists for factual accuracy and relevance to teaching STEM subjects in UK schools.

Sensors Decisions

This activity, from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), introduces students to how we use sensors in a circuit that will make decisions.

The resource is designed so that students will know that:

• a sensor is an input transducer
• sensors are part of an electronic system
• sensors can be inputs to electronic systems
• how complex a decision-making process can be

The role of smart sensors in our everyday lives is becoming increasingly fundamental. This topic focuses on what smart sensors are, how they are being used today and how they can be innovative in the future.

It is easy to get sensors to measure a change in their environment. The harder part is to make an electronic system that will make a decision based on the changes identified by input sensors, and then use that decision to change the output of the electronic system. In this activity students look at simple tasks they do every day and investigate what sort of decisions need to be made. Students are encouraged to ‘think’ like an electronic system, considering a change in environment that requires a decision to be made and what the output would be to satisfy that decision.

The activity is supported by a worksheet looking at decisions made by humans featuring a flowchart showing the decisions required when making a cup of coffee.

Related activities can be found in the Smart Sensors sub-collection.

This activity is supported by the videos Smart Sensor Communications and Engineers without Borders.

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