## Lesson Overview

In Mosa Mack’s Design Thinking unit, students work together in a collaborative challenge in which they discover the steps of the Design Thinking process. They then apply this process to design the strongest boat and a way to rescue a stranded sloth. In the unit, students also have an opportunity to analyze historical engineering successes and failures.

Solve: Can You Compete With the World's Tallest Tower?

Float a Boat and Analyze Engineering Successes and Failures

Engineering Challenge! What will you build to save a sloth from a pit of hungry gators?

- Next Generation Science Standards
- 3-5 ETS1-2
- 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.
- 3-5 ETS1-3
- 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.
- ETS1-1
- 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.
- ETS1-2
- Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
- ETS1-3
- 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.
- MS-ETS1-1
- 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.
- MS-ETS1-2
- Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
- MS-ETS1-3
- 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.
- MS-ETS1-4
- 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.

- Inquiry Scale
- Each lesson in the unit has an Inquiry Scale that provides directions on how to implement the lesson at the level that works best for you and your students.
- “Level 1” is the most teacher-driven, and recommended for students in 4th-5th grades. “Level 4” is the most student-driven, and recommended for students in 7th-8th grades.
- For differentiation within the same grade or class, use different inquiry levels for different groups of students who may require additional support or an extra challenge.

- Common Misconceptions
- Students may believe that Design Thinking is only used by engineers, but in fact this process is used in many areas and across many industries.
- Learners may believe that since the steps of Design Thinking are presented in a specific order they must always follow them exactly as shown. Reinforce to students that Design Thinking is a creative process that may take different paths.
- Students may initially think that a prototype should only be tested once. Emphasize to students that prototypes typically need to be tested and the design needs to be refined and retested a number of times before a final engineered product is produced. Through multiple tests, multiple variables can be identified and tested to make a more successful product.
- Learners may be inclined to go with the first idea they come up with. Reinforce that brainstorming is a very important component to the process, and encourage students to be open to many ideas.
- Students may not realize that prototypes need to use proper proportions and should be designed from similar materials to that of the actual engineered product to test efficiency of materials.

- Vocabulary
- Design Thinking
- Brainstorm
- Ideate
- Prototype
- Test
- Refine
- Retest

- Content Expert
**Susie Wise**

Director of K12 Lab
Stanford d.school