Design Squad Global is a highly engaging and effective way to teach kids to develop complex and original solutions to engineering and design problems. Teachers can start projects in the classroom and send kids home to finish them. The challenges are the best part of the site; they put learning in kids' hands and give teachers a way to connect the TV episodes to meaningful classroom experiences. For example, kids can earn recognition by building the best dance pad with lights and sounds or creating the most environmentally friendly water bottle holder. The competitive aspect encourages creativity.
Pave the way for self-directed learning and a democratized learning environment by letting students find projects that they can design or enhance in the classroom. Teach SEL skills like empathy and collaboration by having students participate in challenges that benefit others, encouraging them to develop solutions for real-world problems that affect people with disabilities, communities without access to electricity, or marine animals surrounded by trash. Design Squad Global can help students see beyond their own problems by using their minds and resources to help others solve theirs.Continue reading Show less
The Design Squad Global website complements the PBS Kids television show Design Squad, in which students compete to create the most novel solutions to engineering challenges. The games, lesson plans, and video demonstrations of the brainstorming and prototyping that go into design make the website a great learning tool for kids. All episodes from the show include closed captioning.
From the navigation menu, students can choose from Watch, Design, Build, Games, or Global Kids. The Watch section features Design Squad TV episodes, tagged by topic, along with videos that explore the science of everyday items like bicycle gears. The Design section gives students options to write, draw, or remix an existing design, or to participate in the monthly Global Challenge. In Build, students will find ideas for hands-on projects that kids can complete with adult supervision, as well as links to related videos and user-submitted ideas. The Games section lets kids play interactive games that teach engineering concepts; kids don't need accounts unless they want to save and share their scores. Finally, Global Kids is an interactive map that showcases ideas submitted by students around the world.
Design Squad Global's videos give students perspective on the challenges that others face, whether in the students' own communities or somewhere else in the world. Unlike many content-rich outlets that can overwhelm students with problems, this tool approaches problems from the solution side, encouraging students to see the ways in which STEAM innovations can overcome obstacles. The opportunity to design original creations or improve others’ ideas encourages students to get actively involved in the design process and shows them that everyone can innovate.
High-quality, engineering-related games present interactive ways for kids to explore the problem-solving process and become familiar with concepts such as observation, iterative design, and prototyping. Kids with a wide range of reading and math skills will find the games fun and may develop the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills essential for understanding STEAM concepts as they play.
Key Standards Supported
Ask questions and predict outcomes about the changes in energy that occur when objects collide.
Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.
Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.
Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.
Analyze data to determine if a design solution works as intended to change the speed or direction of an object with a push or a pull.
Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.