Not Alone on The Dirt Road – Faith Vanderburg, Dream Designers

Dream Designers have made the teachers’ dream come true, but the road to get there was not an easy one, nor did we walk it alone.

After all the work and the late nights Ms. Jo – our Principles of Engineering teacher – decided that picking a winning design out of eight would be overwhelming for the teachers. Originally it would be cut down to three but then it was extended to five designs and from there one was chosen. How did we narrow it down to five? What helped us make these decisions?

Welcome, Decision Matrix, we have been expecting you. Please take a seat, it will take a while.


Each of the eight models were evaluated in eight areas – appliances, functionality, furnishings, aesthetics, elegance and flow, cost and resources, energy efficiency, time and ease of implementation, and robustness – on a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent.

There is more to this process than calculating everyone’s vote and making an average. One of the group members has to read the design team’s explanation of their floor plan. After that two minutes are used to write one positive feedback and an improvement. Then the votes are taken for each category before moving on to the next model. This may sound quick and simple but it was tedious and mentally tiring.

Everything was analyzed through the eyes and mind of an engineer.

An engineer cannot sit back behind their finished product without receiving some type of criticism. When I read my final draft of a short story that I’ve been working hard to perfect and realize that there is a major typo, my heart sinks. At this time I’m walking to the classroom, paper in hand without any way to undo the mistake; the same thing can be applied to this Engineering project. Imagine sitting with your design and no one points out possible improvements or things that you did well. Then you wouldn’t remember what you did well and have the knowledge to tweak your ideas. Now say that it is that final stretch – in this Project Ventura – and all of the components are built and assembled, but wait, what about that table that is too high or the crowded area in the back? Where was the feedback? Was it ignored? Without the visit from the Decision Matrix these things could slip right under our belts and a design may be chosen that needed some revising and editing.

That’s the thing that I was worried about.

Decision Matrix helped us for two days before the results were ready and due to miscalculations Dream Designers replaced Ever-Green Design Firm for a slot in the top five.

These are the correct score calculations, following a bit of miscalculations from different teams.

These are the correct score calculations, following a bit of miscalculations from different teams.

I was so happy to get a chance but I never expected that we, the Dream Designers, would win. I still felt that the design needed some fine tuning and extra planning. Of course Ms. Jo helped me get out of my down state by telling me that this is the design the teachers wanted.

I guess I was right when I predicted that Dream Designers would make a dream come true. All that was missing was the spot in the newspaper, but after seeing everyone work so hard we all deserve a mention. Without the help from the others Gaby, Julie and I would not have that blue star shining on our model.

Our beautiful model attached to our inspiration board!

Our beautiful model attached to our inspiration board!



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