The Maker Mindset

From the Story - Part 3

Decisions . . . decisions . . . decisions.

Initially, they gave themselves a day. One day in the Abyss was all they could warrant to find their esteemed friend. He was last seen three days prior, so their hopes of actually finding their friend was dismal to begin with. Still, he was missing. That made everyone suspicious of some sort of foul play. It was not like him to wander off. He just disappeared. His room at the inn was as he left it. There was no sign of a struggle. There was no note indicating he was going off somewhere. And no ransom note indicating a reward for his return.

He was just gone.

Odd . . . indeed.

The Abyss

” A lone wolf never survives on his own.”

They would have prepared for a longer search if they had specific details of his whereabouts. But for the last week, he kept talking about the Abyss. Something in here had his attention. Whatever the rumor or the mystery, their friend did not share. Surely, he would not travel many miles on his own to find out. Nor would he leave his trusted companions. A lone wolf never survives on his own.

One day was all they allotted for this rescue mission. Unless fortune did indeed favor the foolish, they prepared only the essentials for this journey. Food and gear for a week, with one of those days being in the Abyss. Now, as they sat huddled at the crossroads of the underground maze, they thought that a day would be both too long and not long enough to complete their mission. Each of them had already given up hope of finding their friend. But they would not admit it openly.

Photo by Gabriel McCallin on Unsplash

To gather some strength for the next leg of their journey, they risked the opportunity to eat. Their food consisted of dried, salted meat, dried fruit and nuts, and a few sips of water. They ate in silence. Once refreshed, they uttered some quiet words to confirm the decision to move forward, and to which direction they should take. The cardinal sin was to split up the party, so begrudgingly they agreed to continue straight. Saddling their packs once again, they policed their immediate area for any signs of their presence. Once the area was cleared, they listened for any remote sound, crossed the t-section, and continued on.

Image by pendleburyannette from Pixabay
Image by pendleburyannette from Pixabay

The Spider's Web

“The sight was puzzling.”

Somehow, despite the small rations, their meal gave them a sense of renewed hope and vigor. The move onward was faster, containing the sense of urgency as when they began the trek several days before. Although the torches upon the walls were lit, they each kept their own torches burning. This was a precaution more than a need. The wall torches offered ample light through this dark fortress.

They walked for a short time and put some distance between them and the cross-section of tunnel when they came upon a mystifying sight. A spider’s web stretched across their path, reaching into the darkness above them. It was fully intact. The sight was puzzling, for they did not see any remnants of life in this darkness until now. Someone or something was down there with them. If this was not a spiderweb, then this was a trap of some sort. If this was indeed a spider’s web, then the thing was of considerable size. It did not take them long to find the answer.

The Engineering Process

“A systematic way of addressing a problem…”

Once again, our adventurers are faced with a problem. For that reason, I will give them time to think about their situation and what to do next. That gives me time to talk about the engineering process. In short, the process defines steps that we must take to solve a problem. Specifically, the engineering process is a systematic way of addressing a critical problem that requires an investigated solution.

The first step is to define the parameters of the problem. Be careful here. I did not say “define the problem”. Meaning, many things in life are problems. Or, more specifically, many things in life we would like to call problems. I will give an example. Let’s say I wanted to buy a new car. I could easily walk up to the dealership, pick a car, and say: “I want that one!” The problem may be that I do not have enough money to buy it outright. Or the problem may be that financing the car would offset my monthly budget. These are problems if and only if I want to jeopardize my financial security because I want a new car parked in my driveway.

Image by pendleburyannette from Pixabay
Image by pendleburyannette from Pixabay
Image by pendleburyannette from Pixabay
Image by pendleburyannette from Pixabay

Defining the Problem

“With this in mind, we can build some amazing stuff!”

To scale this appropriately, defining the problem means we need to ask the correct questions:

  1. What is the specific problem or concern?
  2. Who is impacted by problem (and what has that person done to resolve the problem)?
  3. Why must the problem be solved?


This last question is key to solving the problem. By defining the parameters of the problem, we begin to get a better understanding of the true nature of the problem

So, outside of the silly problem of wanting to buy a car that I cannot afford, we should consider a problem that is more realistic, and more focused on what our needs are in #stem education. We want young people to become comfortable and competent using various types of technologies. This would include robots, machines, motors, and code. With this in mind, we can build some amazing stuff!

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