Exercise I: Using and Explaining Graphics

Explaining screening and scoring charts verbally to peers



The purpose of this exercise is to help you practice delivering verbal interpretations of graphics, in particular, tables. From your work with hand drawing and designing AEV components in Solidworks, you already understand how much a drawing can communicate without any accompanying written or oral explanation. However, you can also see how much training is needed to accurately and meaningfully interpret these drawings.

Other graphs and charts are similar, in that they can convey a great deal of meaning, but don’t translate seamlessly across audiences who differ in terms of interest, need, and background. Even graphics produced by different AEV teams may be interpreted differently because of different value judgments made by each team (e.g., Team K values stability over energy costs, but Team G values speed and energy efficiency above all other factors). Graphics that seem simple to us once we understand their context and purpose may still be completely opaque to those who don’t share our same situational context.

The screening and scoring charts you created in your performance tests helped you make decisions based on quantifiable differences among various modifications to your AEV. These same tables can usefully provide an outsider with a technical background with a way to compare your designs’ performance across a number of criteria quickly and easily. However, missing from their interpretations are important, value-based decisions you made about criteria to evaluate and how to weight those criteria. Providing that information to an external audience can clarify the role of those decisions in your design process, as well as help you practice explaining your design process to an outside audience.

The goal of this exercise is to help you practice verbally presenting the content of your screening and scoring charts, as well as the design-and thought-processes behind their creation. You will practice creating, delivering, and providing feedback on verbal presentations, and also practice thinking and speaking critically about your choices for evaluating your AEV designs.


  1. Write a title and a caption for each of your screening and scoring charts.
  2. Next, with your group, prepare a 2 minute presentation addressing the following topics:
    1. Explain how you developed and used the screening and scoring charts—how did you decide what criteria to compare? How did you decide what criteria not to compare?
    2. Explain the conclusions the charts helped you to derive about your AEV designs; be sure to explain your rationale for criteria chosen to be evaluated, as well as your rationale for weighting criteria (in the scoring chart).
  3. Now, each group should choose two presenters to deliver the presentation to two different groups, using the screening and scoring charts as visual aids.
  4. Group members listening to presentations should take notes on the following:
    1. Why did they choose the criteria compared on their scoring charts?
    2. Do you agree with their rationale for weighting each criterion? Why or why not?
    3. What, if anything, could this presenter do to clarify the presentation’s content or strengthen their physical delivery of the content (e.g., more explanation of the rationale behind the criteria compared OR more eye contact and less mumbling).
  5. When all presenters are finished, listening team members will verbally deliver their feedback and provide notes to presenters.
  6. Presenters will return to their groups and verbally present to their groups the feedback they received. This information should be taken into account in further writing about the rationale for the team’s design decisions, and should be used to influence how teams discuss their choices during the AEV competition.


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Fundamentals of Engineering Technical Communications Copyright © by Leah Wahlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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