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So, there might not be just one solution to a problem. I know that may sound weird, but it's true. So, how do you come up with multiple solutions? In this episode of Crash Course Kids, Engineer Sabrina shows us how to do that.

///Standards Used in This Video///
3-5-ETS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

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Producer & Editor: Nicholas Jenkins
Cinematographer & Director: Michael Aranda
Host: Sabrina Cruz
Script Supervisor: Mickie Halpern
Writer: Kay Boatner

Executive Producers: John & Hank Green
Consultant: Shelby Alinsky
Script Editor: Blake de Pastino

Thought Cafe Team:
Stephanie Bailis
Cody Brown
Suzanna Brusikiewicz
Jonathan Corbiere
Nick Counter
Kelsey Heinrichs
Jack Kenedy
Corey MacDonald
Tyler Sammy
Nikkie Stinchcombe
James Tuer
Adam Winnik

(0:00 CrashCourse Kids Intro Plays)

(0:10) Sabrina: We've been talking about the stars in space, and the habitats on Earth, and the conservation of mass, and all kinds of stuff. And while I love talking about those things, there's one topic that we haven't covered in a while that I miss.

Engineering! And "cartoon me" really missed wearing this cool Iron Man outfit. Looking good, Little Sabrina!

So far we've talked about what engineers do and the process that they follow when they're, y'know, engineering stuff. We've also devoted two lessons to the super-important first step of the engineering process: defining the problem.

[sighs loudly] Ugh. Problems! They're the worst. But you know what's the best? I mean, after pancakes? Solutions. Solutions are great.

(0:50) Which brings us to our Big Question: is there just one solution for every problem?

(text: Big Question)

For those of you who don't remember what an engineer is, or who didn't watch that lesson-- and um, hi, you totally should-- an engineer is a person who designs and builds things to solve specific problems. The engineering process is a series of steps that engineers use to guide them as they work toward a solution for whatever their particular problem is.

(01:14) Now, speaking of problems. Remember this place? The problem we faced earlier was getting across this gigantic gorge in one piece. More specifically, our problem was how do we fly across this huge gorge since there was no bridge to cross and it was too deep to climb down one side and up the other. We decided a hang glider was one possible way to soar across the gap, which was pretty clever, I have to say.

But if we want to really think like engineers, we should try to come up with more than just one solution to this problem, or more than one way to try to fly across this gorge. Think we can do it? We totally got this.

(1:50 text: Investigation)

Let's review our checklist from the earlier lessons on what a successful solution to this problem looks like. Number one was that our solution should get us to the other side alive. Yep, that's a biggie. Number two, it, the thing that gets us to the other side, should be something we currently have or can easily get our hands on. And lastly, number three was that whatever our solution is, it's something we can ideally reuse once we're on the other side.

So other than our hang glider solution from last time, what else can we think of? Well, let's say we took this camping trip to celebrate a birthday, so we brought along a pack of balloons to blow up and decorate the tent with. Luckily, we haven't inflated them just yet.

So what if we used the balloons to lift the tent, or maybe just me, and carry me over the gorge? Kind of like in the movie Up but with cartoon me instead of Carl and Russell. That idea, plus the tent hang glider, gives us two possible solutions to our gorge problem. Three is better than two, I say, so can we come up with one more?

Like any good camper, we came on this trip prepared for anything, from birthdays to bad weather; bad weather like rain, so of course we've got an umbrella handy. Hmmm. I wonder if we get a good running head start if we could get enough lift to float or fly across the gorge. Hey, it worked for Mary Poppins.

Anyhow, this gorge problem, as tricky as it is, actually does have more than one possible solution. But are they all really possible? We don't know yet if they'll actually work because that's what the evaluating stage is for.

So, in the meantime guys, definitely don't try any of solutions at home, OK? I prefer, and I think your parents would agree, that you kept your feet on the ground where they belong. Cool? Cool.

(3:28 text: Conclusion)

So is there just one possible solution to this problem? Say it with me now: NO. There are usually many potential ways to solve any given problem. But is one solution even better than another? Is one of our three flying solutions better than the other two? The answer to that question is coming up next time. See you soon, engineers in training.