• Overview

  • Goal: Testing Connections and Impacts


An engineer is interested in understanding how all of the pieces connect, how the system impacts other systems, and what does and does not change in the system. In many ways the engineer is similar to the scientific researcher, as in both research processes there are right and wrong answers. Both identities test their hypothesis with experimentation. The key difference is that an engineer is trying to understand a "big picture" view. Though defining the boundaries of the system is an essential step, the engineer's process is all about understanding connections and ripple effects. For the engineer, there are often several "answers" that need to be prioritized.


  • CCSS Alignment (Research) RI 8.1-8.4, 8.8;  RST 8.2-8.6, 8.8-8.9; W 8.1 & 8.10


Mind Map Worksheet


Excellent Systems Websites

Mind Maps


Cycle Maps; Spider Web Networks; Spiral Development Maps; Nested Systems Maps; Flow Chats; Input/Output Maps;  Part vs. Whole Pie Chart


  • Morphological Analysis; DEA Efficiency Models; Emergence and Dynamic Models; Integrative Thinking Models; Stress Testing Analysis; Sustainability Analysis; Work Flow Analysis; Life Cycle Analysis; Evolutionary Models; Emergence and Dynamic Models

Note Taking Toolss

Conversational Roundtable note taking; Interactive notes; REAP notes; Family Trees; Timelines; Spider maps; Ripple effect maps; Scale mind maps; Schematics; Web Maps

Common Sources

Rule Sets; Codes; Flow charts; Schematics; Blueprints; Diagrams; Dataset; Scales; Matrices; Simulations; Ratios; Spectrum; Classification Charts; 3-d Models; Games

Objectives - Student will:

1. Define a measurable question

2. Define pattern seen in system

3. Design ways to measure changes in relationships

4. Define boundaries/scale of system

5. Inventory uses of related parts/segments

6. Describe connections/impacts/costs

7. Triangulate data from a variety of sources

8. Tag function/scale/quantity in research

9. Organize data into a flowchart

10. Apply logic/math to describe correlations

11. Prioritize solutions/areas in need of optimization

12. Set aside outliers

13. Create equation/model of complex relationships

14. Check understanding of correlation/causation 

15. Explore how findings would scale up

16. Explain unexpected/wrong answers