I often hear design process and design thinking mentioned in connection with STEM and STEAM programs; and yes, clearly, if you’re going to solve a design problem, it’s good to have a design process. But the type of methodical thinking involved in design process is just good for everyday life! So build it into everything you do with students in school!

IDE Corp.’s Design Process

I am a big proponent of teaching through real-world problems because they connect content to a meaningful context, which increases the likelihood of learning and long-term retention. Every teacher in every subject area and grade level can use real-world problems to address content. Now, add a design journal! Teach students to think through a problem with a process!

Consider the problem of butterfly extinction. Take a look at the rubric to see how a design journal component can be included. (Click through to free content; download pdf on the right.) While students work through the problem to develop a solution, they can be capturing their notes, drawings, ideas, and more in a design journal, following a design process.

If you’re looking for some resources to get started or enhance your current approach:

English teachers engage students in design process when writing essays! Art teachers engage students in design process when creating original art! Math teachers engage students in design process when applying math to real-world problems! Principals engage teachers in using a design process when tackling school challenges. Everyone can use a design process!

Position students to solve all sorts of problems and design solutions using a design process . . . which positions students to change the world!