Drawback-Fixing like an Knowledgeable

College students within the Drawback-solve like an Knowledgeable course work collectively to design a tool to move golf balls a selected distance on a tether.

Studying to turn out to be higher drawback solvers is how a number of San Diego highschool college students, in addition to highschool academics, spent a part of the summer time right here on the College of California San Diego. The engineering problem-solving course they participated in is a part of a bigger UC San Diego undertaking to raised put together extra San Diegans for technical careers. The UC San Diego method includes educating sensible problem-solving abilities which have been extracted out of the observe of engineering.

Twenty San Diego highschool college students spent 4 weeks studying these abilities by means of a sequence of hands-on initiatives, working towards and studying actionable steps for figuring out issues after which fixing them. The next two weeks, seven native highschool academics had been additionally launched to those abilities and labored on curriculums they will carry again to their school rooms this fall, with a view to additional unfold this problem-solving know-how.

The brand new “Drawback-solve like an Knowledgeable” course, supplied by the UC San Diego Jacobs College of Engineering in collaboration with UC San Diego Extension, is designed to assist college students develop crucial pondering abilities to raised analyze the challenges that come up in a wide range of conditions, and work towards intelligent options.

The course is an element of a bigger college initiative to increase the area’s engineering and technical workforce. With a three-year pledge from native philanthropist Buzz Woolley in 2020, UC San Diego’s Jacobs College of Engineering and UC San Diego Extension have been working to complement the problem-solving abilities of San Diego’s Ok-12 college students.

“We engineers have an actual duty to empower each scholar, engineering or not, to turn out to be a assured and engaged drawback solver by making use of the tried-and-true strategies developed in engineering,” mentioned Albert P. Pisano, Dean of the UC San Diego Jacobs College of Engineering. “Drawback fixing takes observe, and it’s as much as us as educators to create partaking instruments and experiences that make the observe of drawback fixing related to all of at present’s college students.”

Jennifer Ogo, a biomedical science and know-how instructor at Kearny Excessive College who participated within the class, mentioned she’s observed a disconnect between what we ask of scholars, and what we train them.


Native highschool academics additionally participated within the class, bringing what they realized again into their school rooms this fall.

“College students are sometimes requested to assume exterior the field or provide you with artistic options, however there are not any steps offered for how one can really do this,” Ogo mentioned. “So this class has been useful for me to learn to train them to drawback remedy, and supply these steps to get them pondering in new methods. They’re requested to innovate and provide you with nice options, however the way you get there’s a entire different factor.”

Over the course of the category, college students and academics realized drawback identification and resolution methods together with a Duncker Diagram, the Kepner Tregoe resolution evaluation mannequin, and the fishbone diagram. They realized how one can establish unintended penalties, and develop and scale back their assumptions listing. Following these lectures, college students spent the second a part of every session placing these abilities to observe in a team-based hands-on exercise, equivalent to making a automotive powered by a rubber band, or designing a tool to move golf balls a selected distance on a tether. 

Hannah Music, a senior at Canyon Crest Academy, mentioned the course helped her put names and strategies to practices she had been utilizing unknowingly for years. 

“I believe this program made me extra acutely aware about precise drawback fixing methods,” mentioned Music. “Unconsciously I generally carried out them however I by no means had a reputation for them, or a method to consciously dissect them and set up them. This made me extra acutely aware of how I drawback remedy. I did get pleasure from it, I actually favored the interactions we had with different classmates.”

Yani Ciampistraneo, a junior at San Diego Excessive College, mentioned first with the ability to precisely establish the issue is essential to with the ability to remedy it.

“I mainly realized how one can establish an issue, and a few totally different methods for a way when you establish the issue, you possibly can provide you with concise options that truly remedy the issue, and work out what labored, what didn’t work so nicely, so you possibly can enhance on the following one.”

His instructor, Leqah Munaim, who teaches calculus, physics and engineering at San Diego Excessive College, participated within the instructor session. She mentioned the hands-on initiatives used within the course will make nice educating instruments for her college students. 


A scholar workforce exams out their golf ball transport system.

“All of my college students may have the chance to attempt these hands-on actions,” Munaim mentioned. “I can see how quite a lot of the initiatives I can apply to educating totally different matters. So one undertaking I can use to show momentum, whereas additionally utilizing it to show about power and so forth.”

Drew Shyffer, a junior at Canyon Crest Academy, mentioned the category was not solely helpful, but in addition enjoyable.

“I actually loved this class,” he mentioned. “It’s all the time enjoyable to construct stuff; it’s like the perfect science experiments out of your courses, however each single day. The enjoyable components of college however on a regular basis. It was actually pleasing and enjoyable, however you continue to study stuff.”

He additionally loved getting access to the UC San Diego EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio, the place the category was taught, and all of the design-and-build instruments out there there. 

The course was taught by Jacobs College of Engineering lecturer Dr. Alex Phan, and co-designed with Curt Schurgers, an affiliate educating professor within the electrical and pc engineering division, and college director of the EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio at UC San Diego.

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