Design Thinking with Elementary Students (1st Grade)

In this unit, students learned about the external parts of different animals that help them meet their needs and survive in their specific environment. These parts help animals see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves, and move from place to place. Their parts also help them seek, find, and take in food, water and air. The goal of the unit was for students to design and create the “ultimate” animal that can survive in any environment. They used the design thinking process to develop a problem sentence, find a solution to the problem, and prototype their solution. The process involved students asking questions, making observations and gathering information on external animal parts. They used their findings to sketch out possible solutions to their problem sentence. Finally the students created their ultimate animal and proposed their solution to a “zookeeper.”

Special thanks to Nalisha Keshaw, Brianna Bedessem, Ara Cho, and Chris Bernhardi, and the whole 1C class for making this unit possible!

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