If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Engineering design process

The engineering design process consists of a series of steps that engineers follow when they are trying to solve a problem. This content is provided by the 49ers Museum Education Program..

Want to join the conversation?

Video transcript

(soft rock music) - Hi everybody, I'm Jesse Lovejoy, the director of STEM education for the San Francisco 49ers. Life is all about process. A process is the actions or steps we take to do things to achieve a desired result. Can you recall all the processes you practice daily? Think about it, how about getting out of the house in the morning? First you woke up, got out of bed, put your clothes on, brushed your teeth, and then you walked out of the house, ready for the day, that's a process. Processes are present in our world all the time, and are especially found in the sports we play. Take the game of football, from the design of a stadium to the execution of an offensive play, there are countless processes involved. And one of the most important of those that any student can learn is known as the engineering design process, which is a series of steps that engineers follow when they're trying to solve a problem. The steps of the engineering design process helps support the design, construction, and refinement of a product or a system. So what's that mean in football terms? Think about the way a football helmet looked in the past compared to what it looks like now. Do you think we just (fingers snapping) snapped our fingers and went from a simple leather helmet to a more advanced helmet? Of course not, engineers had to come up with thousands of different ideas and designs to be sure the headgear the 49ers wear on the field is safe, efficient, and looks cool. Now that you know a little bit more about the engineering design process and its impact on football, let's quickly explain the steps. The first step is identifying the problem. This is where you study and understand the problem that you have to solve, at the same time, you identify the criteria and the constraints, which basically mean what you can do, what you can't do, and what you can use and what you can't use. The next step involves brainstorming. In this step, you have to use your knowledge and the knowledge of those around you to come up with some initial ideas about how to solve a problem. Then you and your team generate possible solutions based on those ideas, then you examine those ideas, refine your thinking, and open up your mind to some additional concepts. Once you've picked the best idea, you give it a shot. At this stage, sometimes a solution comes easiest when you can see, touch, and feel something physical that represents your concepts. This sometimes involves building a model. The final step involves seeing if your solution works. If it did, could it be better? If it didn't, what can you do to fix it? So that's the engineering design process. If you're interested in learning more about these important steps and how scientists and others use the steps in the game of football, keep exploring this learning module, and go Niners. (soft rock music)