Design Thinking Lesson 6 of 7: Make

Length of Project:
Project theme:
Suitable for grades:
Tools & Materials
Material List
  • Design Thinking Template and notes from Lessons 1-5
  • Note paper
  • Materials to build student projects (order extra to accommodate for mistakes)
Tool list
  • pencil
  • Tools chosen to build the project
  • Optional

  • Computer or tablet with word processor and sketching app

    Before you begin

  1. Note to teachers: depending on the design challenge, this “making” phase may vary greatly in timing. Give students an “estimated” time length that you will give them, and adjust as necessary as you observe to what extent they are focusing in on and enjoying the process.
  2. Rewrite the following six steps on the board if necessary: Step 1 Empathize, Step 2 Define, Step 3 Ideate, Step 4 Prototype, Step 5 Test, Step 6 Make, Step 7 Share and Reflect.
  3. Opening activity for making

  4. Start the class with a discussion about minimizing waste. Ask students questions such as: “What are some different wastes you expect to see during the making phase?”, “What do you think we should do with those waste materials, and what will happen to them after we dispose of them?”, “Are there any other types of wastes you might observe in this process?”, and the clincher, “What are some strategies we can use to minimize waste?”. Make a list of waste minimizing strategies on the board, and have students copy at least 3 relevant strategies that they will use into their design template.
  5. Students will need to review their notes from the “testing” lesson and apply the necessary changes to their procedure before they begin making their project.
  6. Have students write out a new tools list, materials list, and new procedure steps for building the actual project. Discuss the differences between making the prototype and building the actual project. Students may be using different tools to make the projects if the prototypes were of different materials. You may want to address things such as interior vs. exterior dimensions (if your prototype was of cardboard and the actual project will be in plywood, for example). Have them make a new set of sketches of their “2.0” version if needed.
  7. Review any safety guidelines as necessary. Remind students to be observant of their own tool use, as well as respect their peers who are operating tools. Assign an assessment value to their behaviour, if necessary. Discuss how mistakes and accidents can happen, and that it is very important for them to report any accidents to a supervisor immediately so that the problem can be solved quickly and safely.
  8. Let students get making, Circulate to check in with all students to provide assistance and formative assessment. Encourage them, let them make mistakes, and remind them to takes notes as needed if they divert from their written procedure steps; if they ever need to build the same project again, or share a "how to build this" tutorial, it will be much easier if they can remember all the details for how to make it.
  9. Cleaning up

  10. During building days, end the sessions ten minutes early to begin the cleanup process. Add a “tidy workspace” to your formative assessment to encourage students to keep their workspace clean.
Extension Challenges
  1. Consider inviting additional adults into the classroom to assist students with the making process. Are you building birdhouses? Perhaps a parent of one of the students is a carpenter and would be willing to join the making lesson. Are you making electronic game boards? Invite a local electrician to bring some tools (and their expertise) to assist.
  2. Open it up to students to decide how they want to share their procedure – do they want to make a good written copy? Do they want to submit a photo journal to you? Do they want to upload a video showing each step of their process? Help them make and execute a plan to capture this.
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