Lately, I've spent a lot of time researching the design thinking process. Through my research, I have found different formats to the design thinking process and each one having its own unique twist. Me being me - I liked a little bit of all - so I merged them together and made my own.
Below is a picture that describes the current design process I am using with a few of my students.
Today we used the design thinking process to engineer structures. The pictures and descriptions are below....
Challenge #1 -
Build a structure with a 1 block base
Even though it isn't their favorite, I always have them draw their design first. Then they build. As the silent observer, I enjoy watching them think critically about their structure. You can see their minds thinking about how they can change it...
However, I am not always the silent observer. Throughout the process I do guide them to reflect on previous building activities we have done. That way they can use their prior knowledge on the current activity. I like to connect the dots a little bit for them to help them think differently about their designs. From there, I let them see where their thinking takes them.
Challenge # 2 -
Build a structure with any base.
With this activity, I really pushed them to think critically about how they could build a base. The pictures below start with the students creating on their own with no instruction and then progress to the end result. You can see the progression of how their thinking changed.
(Keep in mind there are two different structures
being built in these photographs.)
While the pictures display their buildings, they do not display the emotions we went through. We had our challenges - the entire time. The structures were not always sturdy and we had to practice a lot of persistence! But part of learning is overcoming those frustrations and it makes the end result worth it.
Until next time,
P.S. - I cannot take credit for idea of the building materials and challenges, I found those on Pinterest.