I recently ordered some chairs for our living room, and like so many products today, they will require some assembly. The company that produced the chairs provided instructions that contained images of the chair parts and the types of fasteners that will be used to bring the pieces all together. The directions show step-by-step the entire process that will be necessary to turn all the components into a single chair. That is extremely beneficial for someone as mechanically challenged as I am!
It is important that our classrooms have a sequential plan for instruction and assessment, so that our students have the greatest opportunity to learn. In the book Designed to Learn: Using Design Thinking to Bring Purpose and Passion to the Classroom, author Lisa Portnoy details the following five elements of design thinking that may be employed in classroom projects or research (pp. 15-18):
- Element 1: Understand and Empathize – Students assess what they know and what they need to know. They also begin to examine issues from multiple perspectives.
- Element 2: Identify and Research – Students delimit to one problem or focus for their work. They begin to examine a variety of sources of information relevant to their issue of study.
- Element 3: Communicate to Ideate – Students share information about possible solutions to their problem. They begin to develop a clear picture of the desired solution.
- Element 4: Prototype and Test – Students create as fully as possible the preferred solution to the problem they are researching and subject their possible solution to testing.
- Element 5: Iterate and Reflect – Students receive feedback and use the information gained to revise their possible solutions. They also take time to think about what they have learned and how they might use their new knowledge and skills in other projects.
As you prepare for next week, think about the tasks you want students to complete. Would any of them benefit from a more systematic approach? If so, you might consider using these five elements of design thinking.