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published by the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education
This telecollaborative project is designed to provide students in grades 9-12 with an orientation to systems engineering concepts. Through guided activities students will reverse-engineer a common device that contains both electrical and mechanical components and then create a systems diagram for the deconstructed device. In partnership with other project participants across the country, learners will reassemble the device and test their reconstruction against quality controls. The project is free with teacher registration. The module includes lesson plans, comprehensive teacher tutorial, reference material, question sets and worksheets, and digital collaboration tools.  

This resource was developed by the Center for Innovation in  Science and Engineering Education (CIESE).  Participation is cost-free with teacher registration.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Problem Solving
= Processes
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Cooperative Learning
= Problem Solving
- Instructional Material Design
= Project
- Technology
= Multimedia
Electricity & Magnetism
- Capacitance
= Energy Storage
- DC Circuits
= Circuit Analysis
- Electromotive Force and Current
= Cells and Batteries
Other Sciences
- Engineering
- High School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Laboratory
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
= Problem/Problem Set
= Project
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Safety Warnings
Eye Protection Must be Worn   Wear Helmets   Safety Gloves Must be worn   May be dangerous  

Access Rights:
Free access with registration
© 2008 Stevens Institute of Technology
active learning, engineering design, experiential learning, materials science, module, project-based learning, system boundaries, systems, systems engineering
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created April 3, 2012 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
October 16, 2012 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
July 31, 2008
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

3. The Nature of Technology

3B. Design and Systems
  • 6-8: 3B/M3a. Almost all control systems have inputs, outputs, and feedback.
  • 9-12: 3B/H5. The more parts and connections a system has, the more ways it can go wrong. Complex systems usually have components to detect, back up, bypass, or compensate for minor failures.

4. The Physical Setting

4G. Forces of Nature
  • 6-8: 4G/M4. Electrical circuits require a complete loop through which an electrical current can pass.

8. The Designed World

8B. Materials and Manufacturing
  • 6-8: 8B/M2. Manufacturing usually involves a series of steps, such as designing a product, obtaining and preparing raw materials, processing the materials mechanically or chemically, and assembling the product. All steps may occur at a single location or may occur at different locations.

11. Common Themes

11A. Systems
  • 9-12: 11A/H2. Understanding how things work and designing solutions to problems of almost any kind can be facilitated by systems analysis. In defining a system, it is important to specify its boundaries and subsystems, indicate its relation to other systems, and identify what its input and output are expected to be.
  • 9-12: 11A/H4. Even in some very simple systems, it may not always be possible to predict accurately the result of changing some part or connection.

12. Habits of Mind

12C. Manipulation and Observation
  • 9-12: 12C/H1. Follow instructions in manuals or seek help from an experienced user to learn how to operate new mechanical or electrical devices.
  • 9-12: 12C/H3. Troubleshoot common mechanical and electrical systems, check for possible causes of malfunction, and decide on that basis whether to fix it themselves or get help from an expert.
12D. Communication Skills
  • 9-12: 12D/H6. Participate in group discussions on scientific topics by restating or summarizing accurately what others have said, asking for clarification or elaboration, and expressing alternative positions.

Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6—12

Key Ideas and Details (6-12)
  • RST.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
  • RST.11-12.3 Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks; analyze the specific results based on explanations in the text.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (6-12)
  • RST.11-12.9 Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity (6-12)
  • RST.11-12.10 By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 11—CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.

Common Core State Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6—12

Research to Build and Present Knowledge (6-12)
  • WHST.11-12.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  • WHST.11-12.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
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AIP Format
(Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education, Hoboken, 2008), WWW Document, (
Core Concepts of Systems Engineering, (Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education, Hoboken, 2008), <>.
APA Format
Core Concepts of Systems Engineering. (2008, July 31). Retrieved June 24, 2019, from Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education:
Chicago Format
Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education. Core Concepts of Systems Engineering. Hoboken: Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education, July 31, 2008. (accessed 24 June 2019).
MLA Format
Core Concepts of Systems Engineering. Hoboken: Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education, 2008. 31 July 2008. 24 June 2019 <>.
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@misc{ Title = {Core Concepts of Systems Engineering}, Publisher = {Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education}, Volume = {2019}, Number = {24 June 2019}, Month = {July 31, 2008}, Year = {2008} }
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%T Core Concepts of Systems Engineering
%D July 31, 2008
%I Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education
%C Hoboken
%O text/html

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%D July 31, 2008
%T Core Concepts of Systems Engineering
%I Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education
%V 2019
%N 24 June 2019
%8 July 31, 2008
%9 text/html

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Core Concepts of Systems Engineering:

Is Part Of CIESE: K-12 Education Curriculum

This is the full index of multimedia projects developed by the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education.

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