Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a set of standards that have been adopted and currently being implemented in the state of Connecticut. One of the major aspects of NGSS is the engineering process. The foundation in engineering design allows students the opportunity to engage in and help to solve societal problems and challenges such as healthcare. Below are the process, requirements and standards from the NGSS website (Nextgenscience.org).
Engineering Design Process (Nextgenscience.org)
Defining the problem (IDENTIFY & EXPLORE) at the high school level requires both qualitative and quantitative analysis. For example, the need to provide food and fresh water for future generations comes into sharp focus when considering the speed at which world population is growing, and conditions in countries that have experienced famine. While high school students are not expected to solve these challenges, they are expected to begin thinking about them as problems that can be addressed, at least in part, through engineering.
Developing possible solutions (CREATE) for major global problems begins by breaking them down into smaller problems that can be tackled with engineering methods. To evaluate potential solutions, students are expected to not only consider a wide range of criteria, but to also recognize that criteria need to be prioritized. For example, public safety or environmental protection may be more important than cost or even functionality. Decisions on priorities can then guide trade off choices.
Improving designs (REFINE & SHARE) at the high school level may involve sophisticated methods, such as using computer simulations to model proposed solutions. Students are expected to use such methods to take into account a range of criteria and constraints, to try and anticipate possible societal and environmental impacts, and to test the validity of their simulations by comparison to the real world.