The point of this post is more practical for the teacher. What does a design thinking lesson look like? How can we change any lesson into one that incorporates engineering and design. This is more of a stretch in an english or history class than in a science or math class, seeing as how they are both in the STEM and STEAM acronym. So here is an example of a transformed lesson.
A Social Science Lesson Transformed by Design ThinkingImagine being a teacher and revisiting a lesson from last year, a lesson on the democratization of eastern Europe. Last year this was done through an amazing lecture with slides and photos.
With Integrated TechnologyThis year, add in some technology. Students will research the topic online and complete some task regarding the topic. Add in collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. The lesson is now a collaborative Google map where students gather and post information about one of the eastern European countries that gained their independence, for the last time, in the 20th century.
With the addition of 4 things (technology, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking) the lesson is a student centered, engaging learning opportunity.
With Design ThinkingTake this same lesson and add design thinking. Design the perfect house for a person living in [select country] during the last time they gained their independence. Take into account the culture, people, budget, climate, natural resources available, and time period to ensure that the house is attainable for the average citizen.
By adding design thinking, the lesson is transformed into a small project that requires students to learn, empathize, and build. The incorporation of empathy in the design process requires students to use technology to learn about the people and culture of a certain country. The task requires students to think critically, create, communicate their choices, and collaborate to create the house. By focusing on one thing, design thinking, five others were added to the lesson. Further, students who would not have normally cared about social studies, let alone eastern Europe in the 20th century, are now engaged in building a house for people of an eastern European country during a time of historical significance.