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Science Handouts

The Design and Problem Solving Process

Use of the IDEATE Model

Designing is the translation of ideas into something tangible. The term design may be used to relate to the design process or it may refer to the product of the design process. In technology, designers are people who set out to solve practical problems that arise from real situations. When an individual is engaged in designing, he or she takes what he or she thinks it is a good idea and turns it into something that will solve the problem often referred to as the Design Loop.

The IDEATE Design Loop was developed so that ideas can be translated into an end result, i.e. products or systems



Scientific Enquiry draws from many issues in society that students may experience or encounter in order to develop ideas and information through a wide range of investigations. Such investigations may include; classifying things and identifying their significant characteristics, developing systems or models to explain behaviours, establishing trends through pattern seeking or fair testing. However, the learning experience can range from being structured and teacher supported as in Guided Inquiry to more flexible and student focused as in Open Inquiry.   Students become increasingly free to choose their own questions to guide the focus of their investigation. They themselves identify the data that needs to be collected to inform the method selected and even decide on the most appropriate means to communicate the understandings they have derived.

The following summarizes the main activities involved in the implementing scientific investigations:

  • IDENTIFICATION of the issue/problem/question – based on stimulus material such as observations, findings from other investigations or questions posed, a general topical statement is composed.
  • CLARIFICATION of purpose of the investigation – provided through review of relevant information as well as pre-existing knowledge. This can be used to guide the identification of appropriate variables.
  • PROPOSITION of hypothesis or aim as applicable – depending on the type of investigation, a statement of the purpose of the investigation is formulated.
  • SELECTION of appropriate experimental method – the means for conducting the investigation is informed by the selected variables to be manipulated and those to be controlled. It is guided by available resources and consideration for safety. In reporting on the method, any steps taken to improve the accuracy of the data collected are included.
  • COLLECTION of data – quantitative (measurements) or qualitative data (observations using senses) are recorded in tables or scientific drawings that are properly headed or labelled respectively. Where possible, measurements are repeated to improve accuracy.
  • ANALYSIS of data – calculation of quantities or deduction of information from graphs and scientific drawings are detailed.
  • DISCUSSION of findings and limitations based on selected method – trends observed, predictions and statements of findings are provided. Considerations for those challenges or conditions that affected the outcomes are also described and possible suggestions to reduce their impact in future may be suggested.
  • CONCLUSIONS as applicable to hypothesis or aim – statements of findings in relation to the proposed hypothesis or aim as is applicable is listed.