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Engineering: Flavors, Models and Systems Bite of Science Presentation, 26 September 2012 Barrett S. Caldwell, PhD Professor, School of Industrial Engineering.

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Presentation on theme: "Engineering: Flavors, Models and Systems Bite of Science Presentation, 26 September 2012 Barrett S. Caldwell, PhD Professor, School of Industrial Engineering."— Presentation transcript:

1 Engineering: Flavors, Models and Systems Bite of Science Presentation, 26 September 2012 Barrett S. Caldwell, PhD Professor, School of Industrial Engineering / Aeronautics & Astronautics Director, Indiana Space Grant Consortium

2 I’m a Systems Engineer! Studying How People Get, Share, and Use Information Well, in Teams ◦ I was on the faculty of Industrial Engineering at Univ. Wisconsin, ◦ I’ve been at Purdue since 2000 My undergraduate degrees are in Aeronautics / Astronautics, and Humanities (Psychology), from MIT My graduate degrees are in Psychology, from Univ. California—Davis

3 Why I’m an Engineer I stayed up on Christmas Eve to listen to (Indiana native) Astronaut Frank Borman on Apollo 8 Building Rockets, Reading Science & Fiction, Psychology, Writing (Things I Loved) Supportive Teachers and High School Introduction to Engineering (MITE) Program

4 Models A model is a simplified description of the world. Models help us ask and answer the right questions, and test how to solve problems. There is no one “right” or “best” model. Different models answer different questions.

5 Models Are Interactive Engineering Tools Courtesy Carol Stwalley, Minority Engineering Program

6 Systems Systems are groups of items and their connections that are organized and function together. Studying engineering systems is one of “grain size”. The definition of system that works best is the one that helps focus on the questions most important to you.

7 Models Help Us Study How Real Systems Work Courtesy Carol Stwalley, Minority Engineering Program

8 Passion and Productivity Being an engineer (for me) is about passion: internal motivations, not just external expectations Doing things I loved, and doing well Positive outcomes, external and internal

9 Don’t You Have to Love Math and Science? Ask a medical doctor if she or he liked Organic Chemistry (probably not) ◦ Being good at it is important; loving it for recreation is not. ◦ There are lots of areas of math, and many different kinds of science I don’t like biology or bugs Fluid dynamics has equations I find really hard I don’t do Engineering instead of people; I do Engineering to study people better ◦ Math and Science are good ways to talk about a subject—you can be consistent and specific

10 Flavors of Systems Engineering Not Everyone Agrees on What Systems Engineering (or Systems, or Engineering) Means Some Ideas and Examples to Think about, and Use with Students ◦ I’m not good at K-12 lesson plans or exercises ◦ I will talk about some examples I’ve seen or tried to use

11 Systems Engineering 1, 2 How Things Connect ◦ Factors that relate to each other: relationships, time, flows ◦ Ecology webs, How many students in a school, Ordering toys for Christmas sales ◦ Note that we don’t have to talk about math yet Mathematical Descriptions ◦ Some of the people I work with love to spend their time here ◦ Fox-rabbit populations, Dangers of unvaccinated kids, Forces on rockets as they burn fuel

12 Systems Engineering 3, 4 Parts, Wholes, and How to Put Things Together ◦ Instructions and rules for creating and using things ◦ How to build models and things that work, over and over Rules for Managing Projects ◦ Timelines, milestones, who does what in which order ◦ Some people call this management ◦ This isn’t really complex math either

13 Who Can Do Engineering? (More than you think) Courtesy Carol Stwalley, Minority Engineering Program

14 Teach Your Kids to Be Engineers! Lego™ are fantastic ways to teach and learn about building a complex thing out of simple pieces ◦ The instructions are engineering process rules ◦ Exercises at: Airplane and Rocket Models ◦ These are tools for asking and answering questions, too ◦ HS and College students can keep doing this

15 Issues in Doing “Real” Engineering Real Engineering isn’t about memorizing lots of math equations; it’s about solving problems ◦ Read Chris Rogers’ thoughts on STEM educationChris Rogers’ thoughts on STEM education My frustration about single-purpose Lego™ and over-constrained tasks ◦ Learning to explore, find out what might (not) work… being okay with failing and learning

16 Great Examples of Engaging Young Engineers (with Project Activities) Purdue Space Day ◦ ~150 undergrads and grads, Purdue alum astronaut, >500 kids (grades 3-8) ◦ Each fall, Purdue football not home (logistics) ◦ Examples of Activities  Grades 3-4 Grades 3-4  Grades 5-6 Grades 5-6  Grades 7-8 Grades 7-8 ◦ Past Activity Books? Interesting for you? NASA Rockets to Race Cars ◦ Celebrate Science, Oct 6

17 Questions and Thank You Barrett Caldwell ◦ Indiana Space Grant Consortium ◦ ◦ ◦


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