Design processes require students to identify and investigate a need or opportunity; generate, plan and realise designed solutions; and evaluate products and processes.
As this project steps through a design process it is important to allow students time to become familiar with the process.
Planning, testing and modifying will become important parts of the process, and will lead to a quality product.
- Explain to students the importance of having a product that they know works and will be successful, and how the different aspects of the design process can assist in this.
Design thinking involves the use of strategies for understanding design needs and opportunities; visualising and generating creative and innovative ideas; planning; and analysing and evaluating those ideas that best meet the criteria for success.
Students can ensure they are meeting the needs of the audience when designing the eco-calculator by thoroughly understanding the problem and design brief.
- Explain you will work through an example so that students have a clear understanding of how it works.
Display the following design brief:
Some students have come to school and said that the classroom is too boring and that it is stopping them from meeting their learning potential. Design a new classroom that allows for students to be excited about their learning.
- Explain to students that the first stage of the design process is to identify and investigate a need or opportunity.
In this case the need has been identified but it requires some investigation. To investigate, students will need to interview the people who learn in the room (their class).
- Gather feedback from students about what they don’t like about their classroom.
- Explain to students that the next step in the process is to generate, plan and realise designed solutions. So students will now generate some ideas of how to fix the problem.
List ideas on a large sheet of paper. Explain that any idea should go on the list, regardless of how extreme it may be.
- Now students will create a plan or prototype using Lego (or other craft materials). Ask students to show all of the ideas they want to include in their design. Give students a time limit for making their prototype.
- The next step in the design process is to evaluate products and processes. Organise students into partners to share their designs. The partner needs to give feedback, starting with something they think is a great idea and sharing something they would reconsider, add or modify.
- Tell students that: ‘The next step is to iterate. This means to circle back to a part of the design process and repeat it.’
An example would be if a student had received feedback from their partner that beanbags in their prototype could only seat two people, and that more students would want to use them. The student might choose to go back and find out more about who would be using the room (for example, by conducting a survey).
Then they would make those changes to the prototype and gather more feedback. This might occur over a few iterations until they were completely finished.
- Recap with students the key aspects of the design process. This process is used by app developers, designers and innovators across the world. Ask students to discuss reasons why the process might be successful.
Note: Craft materials, plasticine, building blocks or similar may be substituted for Lego.