Mr. Rogers' Syllabus for IB Design Technology


What to Expect:

As you walk through the classroom door you will be entering the exciting world of invention, innovation,  engineering, and entrepreneurship. The class is an outgrowth from the 2004 Lemelson-MIT grant that enabled the school's InvenTeam to invent and prototype a stair climbing robot for firefighters. In the spirit of the Lemelson-MIT program, students will learn how to develop an invention or innovation from the idea through the prototype stage. Each student will learn how to:

  1. conduct literature searches on  ideas
  2. conduct patent searches
  3. find clients and customers willing to help develop the idea
  4. write a Lemelson-MIT type invention statement
  5. use a decision matrix to evaluate alternatives.
  6. run simulations of basic concepts using programs such as Interactive Physics
  7. develop time line plans (Gantt charts) using Excel.
  8. make a materials cost estimate using Excel
  9. make orthographic and assembly drawings using CAD
  10. build prototypes
  11. learn how to use a WYSIWYG to produce a web page describing a product.
  12. assemble a final report which will sell the idea to potential investors.

Students will also focus on the IB design methods and gain a knowledge of how ideas can be scaled up all the way into manufacturing and commercialization. They will gain a deeper understanding of how technologies are developed and of how engineers interact in the process.

Since materials science has traditionally been a major road block to successful commercialization of inventions, a significant part of the class will focus on strength of materials and materials science.

Finally, students will learn a number of design and prototyping skills including soldering, use of basic hand and power tools. They will often work together building prototypes.



Major Project: Each student will create a major invention/design project based on the 10 items listed above. The project must solve a problem for a client in an innovative manner and will include a log book and final report. due the first Monday in March. It will be impossible to pass the class during the 3rd and 4th quarters without turning in this project.

If possible the design will be turned into a working full scale prototype but this is not a requirement of the project.

Extra credit will be awarded if the project is turned into a science fair project or major contest entry.

Who Should Take this Class: Students with an interest careers related to:  engineering, architecture,  industrial design, the computer professions, or entrepreneurship.

Credit: One unit (IB group IV subject)

Prerequisites: Approval of instructor. Honors Algebra II.

Group IV Projects: Yes, Design Technology is a Group IV subject and students will be required to participate in a group IV project with a biology, chemistry, physics, and design aspect. The good news: classroom time will be allotted for the project and a major written assignment will not be required. The endpoint will be a web page built by the group. Extra credit will be awarded if parts of the project are turned into a science fair project.

Weekly Project Related Assignments: These will be based on scientific and engineering investigations. Most of these will be done in small groups

Continuous Brainstorming: There are very  few successful single idea people. Successful inventors and innovators are generally wellsprings of ideas. While some of this characteristic is nature, anyone can improve their ability to generate ideas. Students will maintain an idea log of possible inventions they would like to work on, and add to it at least weekly for a weekly grade. (Possible being a key word here, in other words no time travel machines, warp drives, etc.)


General Info

Grading: (For details see Mr. Rogers' Syllabus - Information Common to All Classes.) Unlike Mr. Rogers other classes less than 50 % of the grade will be based on tests. The majority will be based on completing milestones for the major project and on weekly project work.

Materials for Class

  1. A set of dry erase markers. You will frequently be working problems in class on a white board.
  2. A bound composition book to keep a log of major project activities (required for the major project).
  3. A 1" lose leaf binder to store weekly projects in,
  4. A scientific calculator.



Mr. Rogers' IB Design Technology Objectives

Basic Syllabus 1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter

Course Outline

I. Invention, innovation and design

  1. How technologies and inventions develop

  • The Concept Development Stage

  • Demonstration of Concept - prior to this point the invention or technology can only exist as an idea

  • The Trailblazing Stage

  • The Commercial Development Stage

  • The Commercialization Stage

  1. Invention/Innovation case studies

  • bicycles

  • automobile

  • electric lighting

  • computers

  1. Idea Generation

  2. Taking an Invention or Innovation from Concept to Prototype - the InvenTeam method (see above: "What to Expect")

  3. Protecting Inventions and Other Intellectual Properties.

  4. Invention, innovation and the environment

II. Designers and the design cycle (IB Topic 1)

  1. The design process

  2. The design cycle model (DCM)

  3. Applications of the DCM

  4. Generating ideas

  5. Design communication

III. The responsibility of the designer  (IB Topic 2)

  1. Ergonomics

  2. Product evaluation

  3. The designer and society

IV. Materials  (IB Topic 3) 

  1. Introducing and classifying materials

  2. Properties of materials

  3. The IB properties/materials matrix

V. Microstructures and macrostructures (IB Option B)

  1. Structure of matter

  2. Bonding

  3. The IB properties/bonding matrix

  4. The properties of metals and alloys

  5. The properties of thermoplastics and thermosets

  6. The properties of composite materials

  7. Young’s modulus—stress and strain

  8. Forces

  9. The strength and stiffness of structures

VI. Manufacturing processes and techniques (IB Topic 4) 

  1. Manufacturing processes and techniques

  2. Selecting materials and techniques

VII. Production systems (IB Topic 5) 

  1. Designers and the product cycle

  2. Scale of production

  3. Economic considerations

VII. Clean technology and green design (IB Topic 6) 

  1. Clean technology

  2. Green design

  3. Strategies for green design

  4. Life cycle analysis



Invention Ideas and Useful Links

Design Technology will use internet resources as its textbook. Here is a sampling of useful links:

Invention Ideas

There are 2 sources invention ideas:

  1. Market Pull: Problems in search of a solution
  2. Technology Push: Solutions in search of a problem

The links provided here contain many useful solutions as well as other useful sources of information for inventors.

General Resources


Lemelson MIT-Program: An excellent general resource for inventing.
Innovation Exploration - Lemelson Foundation: The section of The Lemelson Foundation for exploring innovation through sound, pictures, and video.

Idea Finder: Dedicated to innovative ideas, including new developments, the history of invention and resources


Protection of Intellectual Property

Patent Info: Lots of general information about protecting intellectual property.

Free Patents Online: Full text of U.S. patents from  1974 to the present.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


Innovative Solutions and Technologies
Javalin Stamp Computer This is a very powerful tiny computer which can be programmed in a subset of Java. It can be used for sensors,  motor speed control, and many other applications

ER-1 Robot This robot is the basis for SAM jr.

Robot MarketPlace: A good source of parts and ideas for robotics applications


Extra Credit

IB Design students can receive extra credit for participation on the SAM InvenTeam of for a major project outside of class. Participation on the Inventeam can earn up to 15 points per quarter.  A major well done project can also earn up to 10 points extra credit in more than one quarter.

10 extra credit points will normally raise a grade by about 3 percentage points.

All extra credit is due one week before the end of the quarter it is counted in.

Major Projects

  1. Intel Science Talent Search A completed research paper (similar to a science fair project) must be submitted along with the required forms by Nov 5th. This contest hands out over a million dollars worth of scholarships to about 340 people. It is an excellent opportunity (seniors only).
  2. Regional Science Fair: The idea is due by Oct 1st, the experimental work is to be completed before Christmas break, and the total project completed by January 31st.
  3. Design and build a significant piece of equipment for the school.
  4. Other major design competitions.


SAM InvenTeam

1/2 pt for every hour of participation up to 15 pts. Double points available for certain activities as determined by teacher.