Lesson Plan Overview / Details
Students will interact with the first step in the design process (defining the problem) through an engaging describing pictures activity. Through brief lecture, they will learn what a design statement is and what it is used for. They will be given a sample design statement which is reviewed as a class. Next, they will learn how to create a design statement for a product. They will be given a blank design statement (template) and a product image (or video clip). In groups, they will decide what the design statement may have looked like for that product and fill in the template accordingly. Ideas will be shared with the class. Process can be repeated based on teacher's observations and assessment of the results of the activity.
- 2 Hours
California Career and Technical Education Standards
- ED.D.D5.1 Understand the steps in the design process.
- ED.D.D5.2 Determine what information and principles are relevant to a problem and its anal...
- ED.FS.11.0 Demonstration and Application
- ED.FS.5.2 Understand the universal, systematic problem-solving model that incorporates inp...
- ED.FS.5.3 Use critical thinking skills to make informed decisions and solve problems.
- ED.FS.9.3 Understand how to organize and structure work individually and in teams for effe...
- ED.FS.9.5 Understand how to interact with others in ways that demonstrate respect for indi...
California Academic Content Standards (Reinforced)
- ELA.9-10.R.CAGT.2.3 Generate relevant questions about readings on issues that can be researched.2
- ELA.9-10.R.CAGT.2.5 Extend ideas presented in primary or secondary sources through original analysis...3
Objectives and Goals
- Students will gain focused understanding of the first step in the design process- defining the problem. (Note: This lesson assumes previous introduction to all ten steps.)
- Students will use critical thinking skills to determine what information is relevant to a problem when creating the design goals for the design statement.
- Students will demonstrate understanding of the 'Defining the Problem' step by creating design statements.
- Students will interact respectfully and effectively with other students through group activities and assignments.
Activities in this Lesson
- Describing Pictures - Hooks / Set
Before class starts, I mount a selection of the wacky product inventions attached below to construction paper, number them and mount them on the walls around the room.
When class starts, I point the images out to the students. I have them pair up and get out pen and paper. The assignment is to wander around the room viewing the images. They are to write the number of the image on their paper and answer the following question - "What do you think is the PROBLEM that the designer of this product was trying to solve?"
For fun, you can also encourage them to come up with a creative name for the product.
When the students return to their desks, I put the select images up on the screen and have the groups share what answers they came up with.
I then explain that what they have determined is the first step in the design process for each of the product... Defining the Problem. This is what inspired each design process to begin. They have now interacted with the First and Last steps of the Design Process - the Problem and the Solution.
- Wacky Invention Images (word doc) [ Download ] Images on word document so can be printed easily and cut out.
- What is a Design Statement? - Demo / Modeling
Now, it is time to get a little more detailed. I explain that before a designer begins coming up with solutions to an overall problem, he/she needs to get more specific about the goals that they have in mind.
I begin by showing a sample design statement (attached below) which includes an image of the resulting product. I talk about the types of things a designer may ask to determine the specific goals for his design (such as what materials to use, who the enduser will be, appearance, size, weight, cost, functions, etc.). This might be the document that a designer uses to present an idea to their boss about what kind of invention they would like to work on next.
- Sample design statement [ Download ]
- Creating Design Statements - Group Work
Similar to the first activity, this activity is a reverse-engineered process - working with an already-made product and determining what the design statement may have looked like.
I provide a new product image. Using the same groups from the first activity, I have the students complete a blank design statement for the image provided by filling in possible goals and an overall design goal. (Two product image options and blank design statement attached below. Feel free to find your own.) ~ 5-10 minutes.
After the allotted time, I put the select image up on the screen and have the groups share what design goals they came up with.
Optional: In lieu of the product images that I have provided, I am also attaching a list of URLs that you can use instead. They are fun video clips that show different types of inventions. I have also used these when students seem to be struggling with the design statement concept. I will play the video and then have students call out specific goals that the inventions accomplish, etc.
- Assessment Types:
- Writing Samples, Observations,
I assess understanding through observations during the two group activities (describing pictures and creating a design statement) as well as by reviewing the answers/design statements that the groups came up with.
If the first set of design statements do not show clear understanding or do not show the level of critical thinking desired, I provide assistance on how to improve the statements for the product image provided. Then, I simply repeat the process with a new image.
Advanced Option: To take this to the next level, I pull out the quick-write assignments from the first activity of the preceding lesson (see "The Ten Steps of the Design Process"). I have the students create a design statement for an idea that they discussed in this assignment. In this case, they are acting as a client requesting a product design. They need to communicate very specifically through the design goals what problem they would like solved through the process of developing a new product for them.