NEW Design Thinking Activity from the Ford STEAM Lab! Challenge Students to Use Empathy in Problem-Solving

Design Thinking as a Strategy to Teach Empathy

Searching for new ways to excite students about STEAM learning this summer? Introduce Designed to Shine in your next summer camp or summer school class! Developed in partnership with the Ford STEAM Lab, this hands-on lesson challenges students to use Design Thinking to create a prototype of a costume or prop for a person with disability in school play.

What IS Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a process that teaches students how to empathize with those around them as a way build skills that can lead to the creation of new products, services, experiences, and spaces. The Design Thinking cycle encompasses the following five elements:

By introducing students to Design Thinking as an approach to problem-solving, students are challenged to think critically, to collaborate with each other, and to strive to better understand their classmates.

How does the Design Thinking cycle work?  

In Designed to Shine students will start with the first element in the Design Thinking cycle, discover needs, to understand the needs and challenges of their peers through empathetic conversations. After putting themselves in another student’s shoes, students will work together to brainstorm, ideate, and design a theatrical prototype that helps meet the needs they identified. As an extension, students may also evaluate and validate their design in order to make it as impactful as possible.

Think your students are up for the challenge? Download Designed to Shine here!

Looking for more activities from the Ford STEAM Lab?

Ford STEAM Lab provides a free suite of online resources to engage students in design thinking, coding, and tech entrepreneurship principles. This digital-blended learning approach takes students through a six-part “Hathacthon” style process, culminating in the creation of a mobile app prototype, business plan, and pitch-deck presentation. Sign up today to get started!



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  1. Tutoriage said:

    It is great! I am sure that people have to know how Design Thinking cycle works. It will be useful not only for economists or marketing..for everyone.

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