Design Teacher Resources
Find Design educational ideas and activities
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Emergent engineers plan, construct, and experiment with a spaghetti noodle structure that could be used to hold a load. Set them up for success by first showing them a four-minute video on engineering design and a slide show of different signposts. There is also a super cool interactive website that they can visit to view how different shapes can be strengthened. The lesson plan comes with memorable and modern resources to support the classic hands-on activity.
You are the new newspaper advisor, and you have no idea on what your publication design should look like. Begin here with your young journalists and analyze the layout of America’s most respected newspaper, the New York Times. Learners read, discuss, and analyze the formats of editions in print, online, and past editions. They conclude as to how the designs work and do not work, and how it brands the identity of the publication. Fun will ensue.
Now it's time for all of the data collected in previous lessons to be applied to the design of a rain garden. This resource can only be used as part of the greater whole, since learners will need to rely on gathered knowledge in order to reliably make decisions about the garden's design. Each group shares their proposal with the rest of the class, and favorite features of each are incorporated into a final design.
Engineering enthusiasts are sure to explode in understanding as they practice the engineering design process (EDP). A container of "toxic popcorn" is placed in the classroom. Teams must work together to devise a method for removing it safely. Plan on awarding successful teams with a delicious snack at the end of the challenge.
After reading about the history of tape dispensers, learners compare and contrast different dispenser designs. Next, teams work within budgetary and time constraints to design a better dispenser. When finished, each engineer reflects on the experience and answers some evaluation questions.
Clever! Participants don square-foot cardboard shoes to mark out the rain garden plot that they have spent the last few weeks designing. In this way, they are practicing scale modeling as well! Note that this lesson is part of a unit, but the idea can be applied as a general scale modeling activity.
Design and construct buildings with rooftop gardens. Junior engineers work in groups to build two buildings and then perform experiments to determine whether or not a garden affects the building temperatures. They graph and interpret their results. This comprehensive project even incorporates a budgeting worksheet! If you have the time and the space, this well-written, memorable, and educational instructional activity could be the focal point of an interdisciplinary unit.
This video about a delicate, often controversial topic, does not argue for one area or another, but does talk about the random process versus design of an involved organ. The lecturer talks freely about how infinite complexity such as with the Mandelbrot set, is an example of the most "intelligent design" so far. This and the 3 accompanying videos would be stimulating starters for both the academic content and the philosophical debate.
Students explore a computer-aided design program. Students chart out roller coaster design, computer graphics and architecture. Students focus on understanding the connections between mathematics, science, technology and innovation.
Sixth graders understand that engineers design inventions to solve problems. In this creative design lesson, 6th graders must solve two of three problems with one design. Students complete a design worksheet.
Students design recreational equipment for a community. In this architecture lesson, students work in pairs to design the equipment. Students select materials and begin designing. Students assess themselves with a pre-made rubric.
Students create a design of an image that combines two words to create an unusual visualization. They improve their drawing skills by completing a detailed, colored pencil rendering of the "Play on Words" they design. Using technology and its Photoshop program, they manipulate the colored pencil drawings and design a creative lettering for their play title.
"By the hair on your chinny-chin-chin, I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house in," says the big, bad wolf! Engineering hopefuls are challenged to design and construct a hurricane-proof building from simple office and craft materials. The objective is to have it withstand the weight of a tennis ball and the force of air from a fan. A wonderful, complete resource to foster engineering and design skills in youngsters!
High school physical scientists collide with motion. They work in pairs to design a paper car that will protect a raw egg during a head-on collision. Measurements of distance traveled, time of run, vehicle specs, and photo gate flags are to be recorded, and calculations are to be made for velocity and momentum as part of a lab report.
Young scholars design a new logo for their school. In this graphic design lesson, students learn the fundamentals of logo design and how to incorporate the needs of the client in design development. Young scholars design a new school logo that incorporates the school name and mascot. After this logo is created, students are challenged to rework the logo to include a special theme.
Students design book covers. In this graphic design lesson, students are introduced to designing book covers. Students develop skills on how to promote their designs to clients. Students then create their own book covers.
Learners design a community and write a persuasive essay selling their design. In this community relations lesson, students learn about design concepts and use problem solving skills to design structures and events that will bring communities together.
Students analyze, critique, and evaluate information from various sources and learn about the design process. In this design lesson plan, students critique work submitted to People's Design Award and create a design of their own to present to the class.
Students develop a greater understanding of how societal and environmental effects existing during each period of time impacted the development of design styles. In this technology lesson plan, students develop an awareness of what those forces were and through that understanding develop their own design project that will evidence what the future might in fact look like.
Students design their own playground equipment. In this design lesson, students take pictures of equipment they like and make a class pictograph of their favorite ones. They investigate the design, research equipment around the world, and talk with experts.