Name of Unit Human Factors Engineering
Author(s) Alex Pugnali and Geena Lucibello
School Josiah Quincy
Teacher Mr. Lydon
Brief Description This unit was created to give students a basic knowledge of what Human Factors Engineering is. They were taught topics such as Anthropometry, Affordances, Color and Contrast, and Assistive Technology. This unit is designed to make students think more about the way in which they build things, and to consider the intended user or purpose when creating a product.
Grade(s) 5th +
Keywords Human Factors, Ergonomics, Anthropometry, Affordances, Color and Contrast, Assistive Technology
Number of Weeks 9
Week 1 The first lesson was Anthropometry and we taught this using an activity called “Build a Chair for Mr. Bear”. Students had to build the perfect chair for a stuffed bear. As a way to extend it to Human Factors we brought different sized bears and had the students modify their chair so that they could all comfortably fit.
Week 2 Students continued to work on last weeks activity.
Week 3 The next topic we brought up to them was Affordances. We went over some common objects and talked about affordances that they had. We told our students they could build whatever they wanted. We them had them present it and talk about the obvious affordance of their object, then as a class discussed the unintended affordances of that object.
Week 4 We discussed two topics this week, the first of which is Color and Contrast. We discussed the different situations were color is important and showed them some exampled of contrast. We also talked about the situations where contrast and color choice play an extremely important role.Then we had them do an activity involving Assistive Technology. We gave each a disability and told them they had to work in teams of two to try to make a paper airplane with their disability. Then we discussed what objects/tools would have been useful to have based on each disability.
Week 5 Introduction of Final Project To start the week off we had the students discuss what they learned each week throughout the semester. This week students started working on the final project. The challenge we gave them was to explore their environment and to find problems/inconveniences that they (and the people in their communities) face. We told them to consider the topics that were taught in coming up with their designs. Students split up into groups of two and worked together to come up with ideas. Each group put their idea up on the board and we went through them and discussed how plausible each idea was. As a class, we were able to narrow it down to four projects (We had 24 students in our case, 6 per group).
Week 6

Engineering Design Process

To get the students to begin thinking about how to approach the final project, we gave them a worksheet with the Engineering Design Process diagram and the questions shown below.  After going through the first 4 Steps of the diagram, the students were broken up into groups based on the project they were working on and were told to talk about the questions posed below.  They were asked to follow the instructions on the worksheet that involved answering the worksheet questions and presenting their ideas to the class.  The rest of the class was encouraged to question everyone’s designs in order to identify potential problems with any design ideas.  This was a productive activity that made each group work as a team and also gave them a solid foundation so that they could begin building the next week.  The students were also asked to hand in a list of materials they would need for building.

STOMP Human Factors Design Project

Steps 1-4

-Step 1: Why are you building this? -Step 2: Observe the object you want to modify -Step 3: Draw potential “solutions” (including materials you will use) -Step 4: Discuss potential problems with each design and select the best one.   Goal:Pretend that you are a group of engineers preparing to pitch your design to the rest of your engineering firm! -Perform steps 1-4 within your groups -Be ready to present at the end of class -Everyone in the group should contribute to presentation. -Ask questions to the other groups when they’re presenting!

Week 7 First Building Week- We oversaw the building process and helped students as they faced different problems.  We also told them to submit a second list of materials if they deemed it necessary.
Week 8 Second Building Week- The students continued to work on their final projects.  Some groups also began working on their final presentations.
Week 9 Presentations Each group presented their final projects.  Their presentations included a commercial to market their product and an overview of the design and building process, including problems they faced and how they overcame those problems.  Every group member was required to contribute to their group’s presentation.

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