Lesson Plan

Introduction into Design Thinking

An introduction into the process of Design Thinking for Students to start to explore.
Darlene P.
Assistant Principal & Graphite Mentor
Shivela Middle School
Murrieta, United States
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
My Subjects Math, Science, Arts

Students will be able to...

  • Understand each step in the Design Thinking Process
  • Identify which step to use to help solve a problem
  • Articulate the reasons to use the Design Thinking process
English Language Arts
Social Studies
World Languages
English Language Learning
Health & Wellness
Grades 4 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/Attention Getter

Ask students to talk about this question:

"What can you do to solve the problems of others?"

Give students about 5 minutes to come up with as many answers the the question has possible. Record the answers on the board for all students to see.

Then tell them "what if I was to give you a process that will allow you to solve every problem you and others encounter. Would you be willing to try it?"

Give the students time to respond as a group.  Tell them the process you are going to show them allow them to be creative and solve problems. It is called Design Thinking.

Show them the youtube video.

2 Learn from people/Empathy

Tell students that you are now going to give them the first step in the Design Thinking process "empathy or learning from people.

Tell them they are going to play a game and the results will gage their empathy.

Give them 20 minutes to play the game then collect their scores. This game will give them an insight into what empathy is.

After playing the game as a class have groups of students determine the definition of empathy and why it is useful in solving problems.

After coming up with a cohesive definition of empathy as a class give the students the following problem: Students at the school are missing too much class time because of the dress code.

3 Finding Patterns

Free, Free to try, Paid

After introducing the problem have each group create a Padlet that will collect their observations as well as their interview answers.

After creating their padlet give students one lunch period to collect observations around the school dress code and the violations on campus. Tell them to document who they interview (questions asked as well as their answers) on Padlet.

The following day have each group analyze their padlets into themes that emerged from the following's days empathy activity. From their themes and patterns have the students identify what the real problem is regarding students missing class from the dress code.


4 Design Principals

Activity: Drawing

Have students take their themes, patterns, and focus of the problem they found to make different options to solutions to the problem. These should be done on paper and as many different solutions as possible. Have students put the worst idea on their board first then continue with idea after idea.

I would give them a minimum of one class period to work on ideas. Students need to be told that all ideas are welcome and they can only use the phrase "Yes, and..." when talking about another person's idea. This is to allow for expansion on an idea.

5 Make it tangable/ Solution

Use of the two apps above to make digital representations of their solutions to the groups identified problem. They may also make a physical model using common classroom and household items like paper, cardboard, etc. They should then test their solution with the student body and make changes where needed.