Engineering of Everyday Things: Analysis of a Whole and its Parts: Structure and Function.

(This topic has a fully developed FUN multi-disciplinary curriculum package appropriate for

Middle and High School students, included throughout this wikispace.)

The link to the Curriculum Outline

The link to the first Lesson Plan:

But if you want some brief notes about the small button in the photograph above, read below...


The following text is optional: it is more of a Teacher's Guide. You may want to just present the Photograph alone

for Student Observation and/or your Guided Class Presentation...

If you look carefully at these "everyday objects" you will notice that they all have a Structure of various Parts

that make up the Whole thing.

Even the simplicity of a small button has "Design".

Somebody (or many somebodies) over the course of many years, figured out that a circle is a good practical

and efficient Shape for buttons, especially if they are going to be "man-u-factured" by machines producing

enormous quantities that require exact specifications and reproductions, and factor in cost and sale price, etc.

And you might think about the number of small holes, and the shape of the small holes, and the positioning of

the small holes "in the button"...

Here again, Engineering asks questions about practicality (or "functionality") and "efficiency"...

1. How many small holes are needed for the purpose of sewing/attaching the button with thread to the fabric?

a. Is 1 enough? Is 2 enough? Is 3 enough? Is 4 enough? etc. Why and/or Why Not?

b. And what is the difference between "being enough" vs "being effective, functional, durable, and aesthetic"…

regarding the manufacturing and use of the product?

2. And what about the placement of the 4 holes . . . . ?

a. If the button is a circle (and why is that a good shape to use? :-)

b. Then why are the holes placed in a square or diamond pattern?

The answer lies in the fact that thread is used to "sew" or connect the plastic button to the cloth fabric...

3. And what does Geometry teach us about the "shortest distance between 2 points"? in this case: 2 holes...?

Think about efficiency, symmetry, and strength, as factors in Design: Structure and Function...

Summary: That little ordinary everyday button was "Designed" and "Engineered" exactly and precisely to very careful

measurements and shapes and positions (like coordinates on a graph) by a highly paid Engineer(s) using Geometry...

Project: If you would like to experience some of that expertise, in Geometry:

1.You can greatly enlarge the image of the "simple button" and print it (to a circle size of 4, 6, 8 inches in diameter...)

2. And place it on a sheet of graph paper with an x and y axes

3. (“Extra credit and pride of accomplishment” if you use a “z” axis as well, drawing or digitally rendering,

to produce a 3-Dimensional Modeling of the button)

to confirm some of the important Geometry Principles that were applied to manufacturing this little button...

which most of us, just sort of 'take-for-granted' and don't think about…

4. "How was this object made/produced/manufactured etc.?

How and Why is it 'constructed' in the shape and shapes that it is"...?

That involves ...Yes: "Analysis of a Whole and its Parts: Structure and Function"

... And one last comment/question (for now :-)

5. Did you ever consider how a "hole", which is the absence of some thing,

can be very important as a "part" of that something?

In this case 4 carefully designed and placed circular holes?...

to be continued... Allen…