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Inputs and Outputs of Design

Using the context of the Nintendo Wii, this starter activity develops an understanding of the terms system, input, process, output and signal, and asks students to identify these features in some common products which are shown in the presentation.

The activity, from the Institution of Engineering and...

Stepometer

In this challenge, students are asked to evaluate an existing product – a step counter or pedometer – by using role play and by watching an accompanying video. They then create a step counter to encourage healthier lifestyles among teenagers.

It is based on a BBC micro:bit device which includes an...

Transport Displays

This activity, suitable for a cross-STEM project day or series of lessons, focuses on how information can be provided to travellers on the London Underground.

Students are asked to consider user needs – what information would they need to see, and how might their requirements be communicated? A deep...

Automatic Lighting

This longer-duration activity involves prototyping a low-power lighting system. It could be used in an off-timetable workshop or across a series of lessons.

Students are challenged to work through the whole design process, and to place a micro-controller (in this case a BBC micro:bit) at the centre of the...

Bag Alarm

This activity, suitable for a multi-lesson sequence or a single extended session, challenges students to design and prototype a simple motion-sensing alarm. The device is intended to prevent theft or the accidental picking-up of a bag.

Motion is sensed using the accelerometer built-in to the BBC micro:bit,...

Flood Warning System

After learning about flooding, students consider the design problems caused by its early detection. Students are introduced to moisture sensors, and can build their own using the instructions provided or use a ready-made version. This is connected to the BBC micro:bit and used as an input device. After processing...

Home Security

Students first evaluate existing alarm systems and learn about a burglar’s attitude towards them using a video featuring reformed criminals. They are then briefed to create a working door access and alarm system using a BBC micro:bit and selected input and output components such as LDRs, reed switches, buzzers and...

The First Programmable System

In this activity students explore why a water clock was the world's first programmable system. Programmable systems are by no means a modern invention. Many regard the first to be Ktesibios's water clock, which was invented approximately 2250 years ago.

The aim of this activity is that students apply what...

Writing a Flowchart

This engineering activity, suitable for children in computing lessons, looks at the basics of flowchart construction.

Simple examples, such as the decisions made by a dog chasing a stick, are used to make flowchart representation of algorithms accessible to younger children.

A simple design activity...

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