Design Challenge

Design Challenge Photo Credit: VFS Digital Design (CC BY 2.0) via flickr.


Through the online resources you can access below, you will be introduced to two of the popular innovation methods that inform inventive and effective problem solving in many fields.


Day 1
Before you explore examples of design philosophy, you should consider the concept of a design challenge by watching the Bridge Building Project, a video of a high school class design challenge on the physics of bridge design.

As you watch the video, think about your answers to these questions. You can record your answers on the Design Challenge student sheet:

  • What did the video show about the test method used?
  • If bridge strength is the variable under test, what is the analogous method we can use to test our water transport systems?
  • What other variables could have been tested with bridges?
  • By what means?
  • How can we translate the experience of the bridge design challenge into our problem of access to fresh water?

Next, watch the Aquaduct Mobile Filtration Vehicle video. As you watch this video, think about your answer to these questions and record them on your student sheet:

  • How many people in the world don't have access to clean water?
  • What is the Aquaduct?
  • Why did the creators of the Aquaduct develop it?
  • What are some of the benefits of the Aquaduct?
  • How does the Aquaduct work?

Now you should go to these resources that introduce design concepts that are popular among designers, scientists, engineers, inventors, and businesses. The concepts are design thinking and agile innovation.

As you visit the following resources, answer these questions on your Introduction to Design Philosophy student sheet:

  • Explain two key elements of design thinking that make the most sense to you. For help, you can refer to the five honeycomb graphic on the Design Thinking Process page.
  • Give an example from students filmed in the D. School Bootcamp video on why they value the approach; what they get from it.
  • Explain how you might apply it to your innovation process you are using in looking for a new solution for the water-access problem.
  • What is Lean design? What is Agile innovation?
  • When and where did the lean approach start? In what field are its roots often erroneously located?
  • Name two attributes of each of these approaches (four ideas total) that you can apply in designing a new solution to the water-access problem.

First go to Design Thinking Process. Read the article and study the infographic to understand core elements of design thinking.

Then you should watch D. School Boot Camp: The Student Experience, which explores the student perspective on how design thinking impacts creativity.

Next, go to the Secret History of Agile Innovation and watch A Quick Introduction to Agile Management to learn more about agile management. The video is at the end of the article.

For more information on the topic, read the whole article, The Secret History of Agile Innovation.

Day 2
Here are some videos you can watch that show examples of physical models/prototypes:

Day 3-4 Homework
Visit the Lemelson Foundation's page on Impact Inventing for help in thinking about what to include in the Costs and Benefits and Cultural Specs portions of your presentation.

This esheet is a part of the Design Challenge lesson.

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Esheet Details

Grades Project 2061 Benchmarks National Science Standards