The Engineering Design Performance Task Guide introduces the process of design thinking to students by guiding them through the steps of developing a new product or system to meet a need or solve a problem using the engineering design process.
Design thinking is not only a creative problem-solving process — it’s a powerful tool that can help shape students’ ways of thinking about and approaching problems they observe in their communities and in the world. Design thinking has become a movement that spans disciplines, with applications in nearly all fields: from software development to manufacturing, from architectural design to health care services. Design projects are highly engaging for learners, and provide the opportunity for learners to experience a structured and disciplined process for analyzing problems, conducting research, generating evidence-based ideas, and testing and refining solutions.
Opportunities for Student Choice
Student choice can be encouraged in a number of ways. Students can choose the problem they will address and the potential solutions. Throughout the process, students have the opportunity to make decisions about their product, including structural, material, and aesthetic aspects.
The engineering design process is used in many STEM-related fields, such as industrial, manufacturing, architectural, and software design. Because design thinking can be used to find solutions across many disciplines, design processes in general are applicable in nearly all fields.
Opportunities for Exhibition to an Audience
Because the engineering design process is iterative, there are opportunities for students to engage potential users of their products or systems at all stages of development, from gathering survey data, to testing prototypes, to displaying finished products as part of an ”inventors’ showcase.” Students can record their design process and create films or other displays to share their development work.
Grade Level Exemplars/Models