Structure & Function: Analysis of a Whole and its Parts

Lesson Plan by Allen Berg


I am not incurious; I like to look at things, care-fully and understand how they work.

Observation and then Description are important tools of Science.

As you can see from the picture of the pen above, Things have parts that make up the whole.

In this lesson, you will choose an object and analyze its Structure and Function.

1. Name and define the object. (You can check a dictionary.)

The definition of an object is often its purpose (but not always...).

2. Draw a picture of the object as a whole and as its separate parts.

2a. Take photographs of the object as a whole and as its separate parts.

2b. Advanced students can use free 3-D software to produce computer-generated images.

3. Label each part and Describe the material each part is made of.

4. Explain the function of each part and the relationships among them.

(If the object has a Patent Number, go to "Google Patents Search" and type in the number,

you might get an A+ in Engineering 101 :-)

5. What country is the object made in? (Don't be surprised if it is China :-)

6. Evaluate the object:

a. Does it do the job it is supposed to do?

Rate its performance: poor, ok, good, excellent, etc.

b. What is the object’s durability?

How long does it last? Can you repair or replace the parts

or do you just throw it away?

c. What is its cost? Is this a “fair value”?

d. Would you recommend using this object? Why or why not?

e. Can you suggest improvements in its design?

List and explain your suggestions.

Provide a visual image(s) of your improved design.

"Improved design": the addition of a soft larger fingers grip…


7. Conclusion:

How does this object compare to similar objects, for use?

8. Any other comments you would like to make...


Page 3: Teacher's Guide List of Objects


Update: September 29, 2016: Google highlights Laszlo Biro today (and his chemist brother), who together invented the ballpoint pen back in 1931 in Budapest, Hungary and received his first patent in France, and later in 1945 he was awarded a U.S. Patent # 2,390,636.

Here is the brief wikipedia site, that has the original patent link as a pdf file: which is pure beauty and arts and engineering etc.

As mentioned in this PBL Unit, Google Patent Search is a fantastic STEAM Resource for life... : )