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Identifying the Design Challenge

Authored by EcoRise

110 minutes
Two 55-minute sessions plus group work outside of class
Primary subjects: 
Career and Technical Education (CTE): STEM, Environmental Education, Science
Grade: 
9, 10, 11, 12
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This lesson introduces students to the first step of a biomimicry design thinking process: how to identify (or define) a design problem and its associated criteria and constraints. Students begin with a mind-mapping activity to help them explore various aspects of the biomimicry design challenge and to identify a manageable design problem their team can address. Teams work collaboratively to select an aspect of the design challenge to focus on. They summarize what they’ve decided by formulating a “design question” that identifies the context, constraints, and ultimate goal of their design.

Co-authored by the Biomimicry Institute.

Key objectives for students
Define the term “design question” and explain its value.
Review and discuss examples of effective design questions.
Demonstrate how to form an effective design question to suit an identified design challenge.
Define an effective question for the Challenge project and describe it in a design brief.
Consider the criteria, constraints, and systems that impact the design question.
Explain the value of defining (scoping/identifying) design problems as part of a biomimicry design thinking process.
Secondary subjects
Art, Biology, Chemistry, Language Arts, Physics
Topics
Biomimicry, Design, sustainability, mind map, criteria, constraints, context, stakeholder, design in nature, challenge, project, defining problems, specifying criteria and constraints
Skills
Collaboration, Communication skills, Creative problem solving, Critical Thinking, Digital citizenship, Systems thinking
Values
Curiosity, Empathy, Global Leadership, Mindfulness, Optimism, Resilience
Methods
Brain-Based Learning, Design Thinking, Multi-Disciplinary, Multiple Intelligences, Project-Based Learning, Real-World Application, Technology Integration
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