Research in Benchmarks
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Thinking about designed systems requires bringing together an understanding of systems in general with ideas about design and technology. In the earliest grades, a foundation is laid in understanding parts of a system, their interactions, and the possibility of system failures. In the middle grades, ideas about feedback and control in designed systems are developed.

Although presented here in very general terms, the benchmarks in this map could be applied to—or arise out of—the study of the specific technologies. In addition, benchmarks in Benchmarks Chapter 11: COMMON THEMES that deal with modeling and changing properties of systems due to changes in scale could be used to augment this map.


Two benchmarks in the failure strand are repeated in the Design Constraints map. There are at least as many kinds of failure as there are kinds of constraints; a design may fail—even before it is realized in a product—because it would cost too much, break some law, or just because people don't like it.

There are a relatively large number of benchmarks in 6-8, largely because the feedback and control strand begins at this level. Feedback in designed systems builds from benchmarks in the interacting parts strand, extending the idea of inputs and outputs to a feedback loop. In 9-12, students should combine their understanding of feedback with ideas about control.

The interacting parts strand shares a significant number of benchmarks with the Systems map (in Chapter 11). Also, complexity in systems is hinted at in this map (as in the benchmark "The more parts and connections a system has, the more ways it can go wrong...") but is dealt with more completely in the Systems map.