Design Thinking


Teach- How does this support your teaching and best practice instruction?

T:  utilize technology resources to apply the Design Thinking process
Example: Students create and share videos explaining how they used Design Thinking to solve a challenge.

P:  using engaging resources in a large group, small group, and individual settings to enhance learning
Example: Students review videos from other classes and suggest revisions to the Design Thinking process.

CK:  creating Design Thinking challenges within the curricular area;
Example: Students identify problems that can be solved with content-area knowledge and the Design Thinking process.


Resources/Tools for Design Thinking Lesson Planning

While most of these tools require a financial commitment, the support resources are free for teachers.  If you can’t utilize their products, you can always use them for lessons and project ideas that will help you teach the Design Thinking process.

Unplugged Resources & Tools

K-12 Strawbees Learning - Design and create with straws - Lessons

K-12 Keva Planks - Design and create with wood - Lessons

K-12 Maker Challenges - Makerspace for Education - Lessons

9-12 OneCause - How to Start an Awareness Campaign 

6-12 3 Design Challenges for the Low-Tech Makerspace - Demco

3-12 Makerspace Design Challenges - Kettle Moraine School District

Plugged Resources & Tools (electronic device required)

K-12 Maker Challenges - Makerspace for Education - Lessons

K-12 Make AR and VR in the Classroom - Cospaces Edu - Lessons

K-5 Fun Brain - Ideas for creating games

5-12 Makedo - Design and create with cardboard

3-12 Makerspace Design Challenges - Kettle Moraine School District

2-12 Makey-Makey - Invention Kits for the 21st-century

2-12 CoSpaces Edu - Lessons adaptable for all subjects

To level up for deeper learning, combine Design Thinking and Computational Thinking into a lesson.  Students will be able to practice Higher Order Thinking Skills.  This can be accomplished by using Design Thinking to create a design challenge and then using Computational Thinking to solve the challenge. For information about Computational Thinking go to Thing 17.

Here is an example of Leveling Up with SAMR using Design Thinking:

Lesson - High School Physical Education - Fitness Campaign

Original Lesson

Students will

  • create a fitness campaign following the content standards and utilizing the equipment in the school’s weight room.  

  • design the workout routines for each piece of equipment and create an overview on a poster.  display the poster in the front of the room.

  • create a data table for recording vitals before and after each workout.  

  • completed paper copies of the data tables will be returned to the teacher after each class.

Substitution Choose a tech resource that substitutes for an existing class activity tool.  Example: Students display their fitness campaign on a poster created with a virtual tool like Canva instead of poster board and markers.  Students will use word processing/spreadsheet for creating a data table for recording vitals.

Augmentation  Choose a tech resource that gives your students additional functionality.  Example:  In order to receive feedback on their fitness campaign and to collaborate with others, students share their posters virtually in a discussion board.  Or, instead of a poster, students will create videos of the fitness campaign.

Modification  Choose a resource where technology changes the task.   Example: Students use heart rate apps on their phone and log the data over time.  Students use this data and the Design Thinking process to create a fitness campaign.  The campaign could be shared with an online presentation tool.  All stakeholders will get to choose which routine they will use for their personal routine.

Redefinition Choose a resource that completely redesigns the task and is not possible without using online, collaborative, interactive technology. Example:  Student groups use all of the aforementioned tools and techniques to design a workout routine for a classmate with special needs. The campaign could be shared with authentic audiences via the internet.  

Thing 16 SAMR Lesson Idea Document

Resources/Tools to Help Students Learn about Design Thinking

Here are some resources that you can use with your students to help them understand the concept of Design Thinking.

Unplugged Resources (no electronic device needed)

2nd Is This a House for a Hermit Crab - MiTech Kids lesson

5th Paper Circuit Greeting Cards - MiTech Kids lesson

6-12 Design Thinking - 21 Things for Students -Thing 15

Plugged Resources (electronic device required)

K-8 3D Designer App - Makers Empire for Students

K-8 Design Competitions - Makers Empire Monthly using free designer app

6-8 PBS Design Squad - Learn, design, build

4-12 Bridge Innovate - Bright Spark - Invention Challenges

6-12 Design Thinking - 21 Things for Students -Thing 15


Resources/Tools to Support

AR/VR: Assistive Learning - EdTechMagazine article

AR for Autistic Students video

Mercury Reader--simplifies web content

Just Read---simplifies web content

Lines are blurred between interactives and content area

For additional resources to support students on becoming expert learners, visit Thing 20

For additional resources to support students with special needs, visit Thing 21


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