The Engineering Design Process

To solve engineering problems, engineers follow a series of steps called the “Engineering Design Process.” 

A Five-Step Process

Because the EiE Project serves young children, we’ve created a simple Engineering Design Process (EDP) to guide students through our engineering design challenges. This EDP has just five steps and uses terms children can understand.

ASK: What is the problem? How have others approached it? What are your constraints?

IMAGINE: What are some solutions? Brainstorm ideas. Choose the best one.

PLAN: Draw a diagram. Make lists of materials you will need.

CREATE: Follow your plan and create something. Test it out!

IMPROVE: What works? What doesn't? What could work better? Modify your design to make it better. Test it out!

It’s important to note that the EDP is flexible. There are as many variations of the model as there are engineers. With EiE, students work through all five steps, but in real life, engineers often work on just one or two steps, then pass their work to another team.

Note that the EDP is a cyclethere’s no official start or end point. You can begin at any step, focus on just one step, move back and forth between steps, or repeat the cycle. For example, after you improve your design once, you may want to begin all over again to refine your technology. You can use the EDP again and again!

Take a moment to watch one of our EiE Spolight videos about the EDP.  Visit our Video Collection for more videos and other useful video resources.