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Refresher Systems Assignment

This is an individual assignment intended to help you remember the basics of systems.

A. Identifying Systems

For each of the following items, identify whether the object described is or is not a system in the described contexts. Refer to the four characteristics of systems to prove your answers.

  1. The Internet, when it is active (as opposed to if it were shut off completely)
  2. A rock that you see lying by the road
  3. Water flushing down a toilet
  4. An empty plastic water bottle lying in a field

B. System Boundaries

  1. Consider a typical laptop computer. One obvious boundary of the laptop as a system of components (screen, keyboard, motherboard, disk, etc) is the physical extent of the laptop itself. There is another boundary that one can draw, that is very natural, yet different from the physical extent of the laptop. Describe that other boundary.
  2. Consider a desk with drawers. You put a pen into the drawer. Is the pen, when in the drawer, part of the desk? One can argue either that it is or that it isn't. Briefly argue both points of view.
  3. Argue that the passenger of a car is not a part of the car system, while the driver is part of the car system. Then, explain why the passenger must in fact be a component of the car system.
  4. Explain, with specific examples, how determining the environmental impact of a house depends on where one draws its system boundaries.

C. Inputs and Outputs

For each of the following items, name as many inputs and outputs as possible:

  1. a wood chipper such as this one;
  2. a pair of trousers;
  3. a movie theatre (the actual room in which the movies are shown, plus the projection booth; NOT the corridors, commissary, entrance, ticket booths, etc); and
  4. an organization, like Ryerson University.

Assessment notes

Each item will be graded on a scale of 0-4, where:

answer is absent or completely wrong.
inadequate response, but not completely wrong; fails to meet minimal expectations.
minimally correct answer, but substantively lacking in appropriate depth, breadth, or language.
good: demonstrates some depth/breadth to explanation; uses appropriate language.
excellent: demonstrates superior depth/breadth of explanation; excellent language use.
mec723/systems_assignment.txt · Last modified: 2020.03.12 13:30 (external edit)