Design Thinking for Second Graders

Lately I have been reading a lot about design thinking, as I begin to write new curriculum for the Burlington Technical Centerś Pre Tech and Maker Space programs.  The most engaging and interesting information I have found so far live on Stanfordś design thinking site: and on NuVuś site:  Both sites are fairly different as one school is a college and one a high school, but both bring to light some interesting thoughts when it comes to process and design thinking.

In the last month, second graders have been wrapping their heads around the idea of how seeds travel and why this affects why plants replication.  We had a great adventure in the back field area of Flynn searching for ¨evidence¨ of how seeds do this.  If students didn´t know what or were able to identify wild grapes, milkweed and burdock, they now do.

To fit in some design thinking to compliment this investigation, I asked students to design and create their own seeds that had to travel in a specific way.   Most wanted to design seeds that traveled by air, while a daring few chose my personal favorite; explosion.  Students dove into building, but soon realized that this task may be harder than they think.

One of the really great intersections of science and engineering in this challenge is the idea of properties (science vocabulary also present in the second grade matter unit).  Students had to be aware of the properties of the real seeds they were trying to mimic in order to create one of their own that was successful.



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