Step three of the eight step Engineering Design Process requires team members to develop possible solutions to a problem that they researched. First, students are to define a problem. Then, they must research three reasons for the problem, and cite the sources that they found the reasons (books, sales data, articles, statics, personal interviews, etc.). Once they get to this step, they must show evidence of an in depth analysis of the three solutions before they proceed to step four which is to “choose the best solution.”
The SWOT analysis method is the way that the students will “SWOT IT OUT” and tackle steps three and four of the Engineering Design Process. A SWOT Analysis is a study undertaken by an organization to identify its internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as its external opportunities and threats. Basically, the students can’t just make impulsive decisions with this method. They will be forced to think objectively so that they will come up with the “best” solution to their design problem, invention, or innovation.
Essentially, it is the “art” in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) because it is a graphical representation of the development stage of the Engineering Design thought process.
For this activity, the students will work in your groups to develop and analyze three possible solutions to a design problem, and choose the best solution.