Mission 2

Fire-Ed Up Challenge

Mission 2 | Define

Define the problem

Students will learn how to ‘Define’ the problem and go through a number of steps to ultimately produce a ‘Mission Statement’.



The define stage of the iSTEM engineering design process requires students to think carefully about, what is the problem they are going to solve?, who are they solving the problem for, and why does the problem need to be solved?

An integral part of the iSTEM process is the definition of a meaningful and actionable, design brief statement. Students will work through a variety of activities in order to produce a quality design brief that will guide their team’s work and kickstart the ideation process.

Use the lesson below to commence solving one of the following scenarios;

Downloadable Resources


The following provides information on the ‘Define’ stage of the iSTEM engineering design process. Students learn about what makes a good design brief statement and how to produce one. The Design Brief will help guide student’s work throughout the design process.

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Analysing the Problem

This worksheet has been designed for students to analyse the Fire-Ed Up scenario. They will document their deliverables and the who, what and why of the mission. It is important that students clearly understand the scenario.

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In this worksheet, students learn about brainstorming. Students undertake a task where they choose from 2 different methods of ideation. They are asked to come up with ideas about different problems they might like to solve as part of Fire-Ed Up.

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Students are asked to synthesize their ideas from the brainstorming session from the previous task. Using this worksheet students select four of the best problems and evaluate them before making a decision on which would be the best problem to solve.

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Empathy Mapping

An empathy map is a simple, easy-to-digest visual that captures knowledge about a user’s behaviours and attitudes. In this worksheet, students learn about empathy mapping and complete an empathy mapping task in which they complete research and observations of the end users of their designs.

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Design Brief

Students should have completed a range of activities to better understand the who, what and why of their scenario and select a problem to solve. In this worksheet, they are to produce a design brief that clearly describes the problem that they are trying to solve.

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All Scenarios – Resources

General background information for teachers and students to support challenge activities.

Dr David Clarke, Fire Behaviour Analyst at the NSW Rural Fire Service explains the science behind the AFDRS (14:53 minutes)

Dr Meaghan Jenkins, AFDRS Manager at the NSW Rural Fire Service discusses the reasons for the update of the AFDRS (14:03 minutes)

Bushfires can be so intense they can create their own weather systems, sparking even more fires. What is the science behind bushfires? What does it need to take off and become a raging inferno? (2:40 minutes)

Mission Brief

Key Questions for Students to consider

  • Why does the problem need to be solved?
  • What experiences can you relate to in the problem?
  • What are your initial thoughts of how you could possibly solve the problem?
  • How can different members of the team contribute to the solution?
  • Do you have more questions about the problem?
  • Who does the problem concern?
  • How will you know that your solution will suit them?
  • What processes will need to occur to solve the problem

Possible Activities

  • Produce a clear statement describing the problem to be solved.
  • Mind map initial thoughts and additional questions.
  • Review prior knowledge and experience.
  • Determine what assets are available.
  • Identify resources available or needed.
  • Write a clear and concise design brief statement.
  • Identify sources of information.
  • Articulate the scope and nature of the problem.
Fire-ed Up

Next Mission | Identify

The Constraints 

Outline the specific boundaries for which the project will be confined.

Take-Off to Mission 3 >>>