Design Challenge Ideas: Part II

Bernie Trilling, founder and CEO of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, is widely acknowledged to be the author of the following equation:


I can’t say for sure if the attribution is accurate.  But this is what it means:  When teachers provoke Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Curiosity, Critical thinking, Citizenship, and Cultivation of life-long learning (7 Cs) in their classrooms then multiply those skills times Rigor, Relevance and Relationship (3 Rs) the result is spectacular performance from kids preparing for the 21st Century world.

One sure way to provide students with the tools they need to succeed is to advance design thinking in the classroom. Integrated into the base curriculum, it can become an avenue for deep thinking and problem solving for kids and a career long ally for teachers.


Below I am adding another series of Design Thinking challenge ideas that are linked to the hard sciences, ecology, and mathematics. “How might we…”

  • Use elements of game theory to create a better transit solution for riders?
  • Raise awareness of the environmental issues affecting our delicate planet?
  • Provoke a positive change in the factors that are compromising our biosphere?
  • Change the way we see light?
  • Use biomimicry to solve a human need?
  • Reduce a single family’s carbon footprint?
  • Design a way to convert student motion into usable energy?
  • Buffer the noise of the hand dryers or hair dryers?
  • Design a “delightful drone” for the next decade?
  • Create ‘apps’ that seamlessly integrate into everyday life?
  • Reduce the amount of surface area currently dedicated to cars (now around 30%)?
  • Increase water/beach access?
  • Help children deal with allergies, diabetes?
  • Improve the way human beings coexist with nature in a greener world?
  • Design (re-design) time?
  • Improve recycling and/or composting habits?
  • Reduce a single family’s carbon footprint?
  • Love of our City/Town/Neighborhood?
  • Ensure that the auto industry takes a human-centered approach to auto design?
  • Use barn-raising strategies to improve our school/community?
  • Redesign the school lunch tray?
  • Redesign assistive tools for those in need of mobile assistance?
  • Redesign ways to allow assisted mobility for people?
  • Reinvent the package design of a popular product?
  • Radicalize the PORSCHE CAYMAN in a visually, stimulating way?
  • Re-imagine the school (other agency) parking lot?
  • Improve a car visor?
  • Design an improved off-shoot of TOM’s Shoes?
  • Prevent falls for elderly?
  • Determine which hybrid vehicle is the better choice for the city fleet?
  • Design a monument or museum to enhance the lives of our citizens and visitors?
  • Design a mobile maker space?
  • Improve the school drop-off and pick-up experience?
  • Improve the saving money experience?
  • Determine which mathematical principles describe the spread of disease?
  • Mathematically model an epidemic?

Perhaps these ideas, or ideas that leap to mind as the list is read, can be of use as welcome revitalization to a winer-weary curriculum after spring break.


One thought on “Design Challenge Ideas: Part II

  1. Pingback: Active Assessment of the 7 Cs | Marcy's Musings

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