Problem-Solving 101: Intro to Design Thinking + Social Entrepreneurship
Problem-Solving 101 is an adaptable, interdisciplinary project outline designed to introduce students to basic 3D design and problem solving while encouraging entrepreneurial thinking and global collaboration.
The model shown here — a customizable chocolate mold — is just one of many examples of this project's possibilities. For our first interation of Problem-Solving 101, we chose fair-trade chocolate as the centerpiece of our project in order to illustrate the transformative power of design and entrepreneurship using a fun, engaging, delicious twist.
During the course of this unit, students will pair with school staff to identify and solve a problem in their local environment by designing and building/printing the solution. From desk organizers to door stoppers, students are free to choose their problem-solution fit — keep in mind, however, that students should understand and be able to explain the relationship between their design project and a genuine need/problem.
Once this introductory phase of the project is completed and students are familiar with the relationship between design thinking, problem-solving, and product development, the students will then choose a global issue that they wish to address in a collaborative manner using design and entrepreneurship (in this case, sustainable agriculture and working conditions). Whether they collaborate with students from a nearby district or from another country, the collaboration experience is intended to foster a sense of community and self-efficacy that extends beyond traditional boundaries and borders. For those who wish to incorporate foreign language learning into this unit, teachers are encouraged to connect and collaborate with a class whose students speak a different language in order to implement desired FLL elements.
The 3D printer will be used to prototype and manufacture some or all of the final product(s) designed by students.
This prototype chocolate mold was designed using the simple geometric models and CAD tools in TinkerCad.
In completing this project students will gain a basic understanding of design thinking and 3D design basics, with opportunities to create local and/or global impact through service-learning. The students will journal and document the process of solving the problem, draw a sketch, and 3D model the customization.
The students will pair with a staff member to solve a problem identified by the building/classroom/staff member. Students may design and print an organizer for items on teachers desk or classroom area, room signage, replacements for lost items, customized items/products for the school store and more. Dependent upon technological and development circumstances, these designs can be downloaded from Thingiverse or can be imagined and designed in Tinkercad by a student to solve the presented problem.
Global Reach: Students will create an Impact Shop that showcases student-created and-designed products. Collaborate with student groups globally with product design and development. Create a physical and online store (e.g. www.bigcartel.com free subscription). Alternatively, the class can also use the items as rewards for involvement in a crowdfunding campaign (www.kickstarter.com/ www.gofundme.com). In either case, the proceeds from sales/fundraising efforts should be donated to a charity related to the unit focus (in this case, fair trade + sustainable agriculture + working conditions)
After completing the project students will be able to:
- Understand the design thinking process: Empathize, define, ideate, prototype,test.
- Design a solution to an existing problem or re-design an object to improve it or make it work better using a 3D printer and 3D scanner(if needed)
- Utilize the design process to create, re-design or modify an object to improve its function/purpose
- Build a prototype of the product
- Test the idea, and problem solve/reiterate/redesign to ensure a working prototype that meets customer specifications.
Standards - NGSS Standards
Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
Use a computer simulation to model the impact of proposed solutions to a complex real-world problem with numerous criteria and constraints on interactions within and between systems relevant to the problem.
Standards - ELA/Literacy
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem. (HS-ETS1-1),(HS-ETS1-3)
Evaluate the hypotheses, data, analysis, and conclusions in a science or technical text, verifying the data when possible and corroborating or challenging conclusions with other sources of information. (HS-ETS1-1),(HS-ETS1-3)
Standards - Mathematics
Model with mathematics. (HS-ETS1-1),(HS-ETS1-2),(HS-ETS1-3),(HS-ETS1-4)
Part 1 - Client Problem Solving
Client Research- 1-90 minute period
Design/Sketch/Prototype - 3-90 minute class periods
Printing- may need to be completed from the cue outside of class
Modification/Finalize - 1 90 minute period after student has spoken with client to get input for changes
Final Printing- may need to be completed outside of class
Part 2 - Global Connection Problem Solving
Research - 1 90 minute period
Global Conversation- 1 90 minute period using Skype to connect at beginning
Design and Problem solving- This may take up to 1 month as the students work with their global counterparts to develop and begin manufacture of the items
- 3D Printer
- Filament material
- Printer control software
- Slicing software
About one week
Although there are no prerequisite skills to participate in this project, students should come to class equipped with pencil, paper, basic digital literacy and research skills, as well as plenty of creativity, curiosity, and a willingness to learn from "failure".
See attached files to download a sample rubric
Students will develop a design brief, journal and video/photograph the design process, while communicating with clients to meet their needs.
Project Requirements as below:
- Design Brief - include all items, including materials
- Research - APA Citation
- Concept Sketches
- Project Pictures
- Construction pictures
- Conclusion - What did you do? What did you learn? Etc.
- Summary of project - Include STEM Principles, What did you do? What did you learn? Etc.
- Video documenting your project (1 to 5 minutes) - Document the project from beginning to the end, Embedded from YouTube
- Pictures - With captions
- Proposal - Embedded or hyperlink from Google Docs
- Presentation - Embedded or hyperlink from Google Slides
- Citations - APA Format
Because this project is a basic framework intended for customization according to the needs and interests of its users, the project leader (e.g. teacher, supervisor) is responsible for selecting knowledge sources and unit content.
For our fair-trade example, see the following PDF document:
Follow the below link to access the Design Brief Template from Boris Friedrich Milkowski.