Design a device that can safely collect a jellyfish

Let’s create problem solutions using elements of the engineering and design process. 1 credit

How would you make a device to grab your sea jelly model without hurting it? One way to approach this question is to use the engineering design process, illustrated above. We have already completed the first two stages, we have learned more information about sea jellies and the current way they are caught, we also have a better understanding of our problem and our constraints. By using your Jelly Capture Worksheetwe will go through the design process.

Take a moment to write down your thoughts using the prompts below:

Step 1: Listen and Analyze

  • Based on the information we learned from David Gruber, identify the problem and put it in your “Listen” box.
  • What do we know about sea jellies? What else do we need to learn? Add this information to your “Analyze” box.
  • What do we need to know about the ocean environment? Find and add this information to your “Analyze” box.

Step 2: Design

Based on the information you gathered about sea jellies and the ocean environment, what are the important constraints you need to keep in mind when designing? Keeping your best sea jelly pattern in mind, ask yourself what are the important elements to have in your design? For example, “cannot have hard edges” could be a requirement as it could damage the jelly.

  • What are the important constraints you need to keep in mind when designing?
  • What would make your capture design a success?
  • What are the important things to have in your design?

Think about possible designs for your sea jelly catching device.

Here are some techniques that could inspire you! Take notes on anything you might want to incorporate.

Make your plan.

  • Look at the materials or recyclables you need to use.
  • Once you have an idea, start drawing your design. A good design should be clear and repeatable. Be sure to label all the important materials you use. Do you have specific measurements you need to label? Is your clamp nine inches long or nine meters long?
  • Finally, write down all the milestones for your design.

Build your gripper.

Using your materials, create your first grabber. It’s okay if it doesn’t look exactly like your design. We will have plenty of time to improve.

Step 3: Test

Fill a bucket or any clear container with water and gently place your jellyfish model in it. You can now test your pliers!

As you work, think about answers to the following questions:

  • Did you manage to get your jellyfish back?
  • Was the jellyfish damaged in the process? How can you tell?
  • What worked in your design?
  • What can you improve in your design?

Step 4: Improve and repeat!

Whenever designers and engineers test or use something they’ve created, they evaluate its performance, think of ways to improve it, and then adjust their design. Take a moment and draw how you will redo your capture device on your Jelly Capture Worksheet. Be sure to label important parts. If you have the chance, create another jelly model and retest your design.

Grabber Design Reflection

Consider these questions:

  • How effective do you think your design was overall? Why?
  • If your jellyfish model was a different size, how would you fit your tool?
  • If you had unlimited materials, what would you use to build your jellyfish catching device?
  • What are the limitations of our test? How can we improve it?
  • Why is it important to do our best not to harm the animals we study?
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