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Teaching Strategies

Using design tasks in your classroom involves employing teaching strategies that may be quite new to you. The following are some approaches that may be of help and interest to you:

  •  Introducing Tasks  MIT design professor Woodie Flowers tells how he frames the starting point of most design work. See how a tech ed and science teacher use design briefs to do this.
  •  Class Demos   Compare initial demonstrations that one tech ed and two science teachers used to introduce the Model Parachute task.
  •  Variables & Fair Tests  Compare three teachers who each conduct a critical, early discussion of key parachute design variables and read about the notion of "fair testing".
  •  Coaching Teams  View strategies for helping design groups as they build and test their products.
  •  Time Management   Help students budget their time better & make designing go more smoothly.
  •  Design Diaries   LBD's series of single-page worksheets help students keep a record of different design activities.
  •  Supporting Creativity in Kids  Hear Harvard's David Perkins talk about how creativity is not for the elite few, and ways Richard Kimbell and Woodie Flowers support students in being more creative.
  •  "Seeing" Designer Roles  Metacognition involves thinking about how you think or do something. Watch one teacher's experiments with helping her kids be more self-reflective.
  •   Conceptual Design  The fastest-to-finish design tasks are ones where students propose products but don't build them. In this page's movie, UK's David Barlex describes how conceptual design activities are central to encouraging students to be creative in the Nuffield's Young Foresights curriculum.
  •   Whiteboarding  Georgia Tech's Janet Kolodner talks about this technique used in Learning By Design that was drawn from the Problem-Based Learning model.
  •  Drawings & Sketching  Drawings help designers see and judge ideas without having to build them.
  •  Safety   Safety in the classroom and in product design are both key issues that need to be discussed.
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