Students examining the innards of a coffee maker and a blackboard shows a diagram of the inner workings of a coffee maker

Overview

In this activity, students get to see engineering design in an everyday object. In a high-energy session, students brew and characterize coffee, and then dismantle a coffee maker to explore how it works. The machine and process involve a wide variety of physical principles important to many engineering disciplines. By allowing students to deconstruct a coffee maker, they are given the opportunity to explore and understand the physical structure and operation of a real-world artifact. Groups with different coffee makers practice communicating technical information by sharing their findings with their classmates. The session concludes by having a class-wide discussion linking the engineering design cycle with the design of a consumer device.