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Ebun Oni, Richelle Mena, Aaron Valdez

Activity 1.2.1 Design Process

All humans have the ability to design and solve problems. Design is a creative
process that allows people to solve problems, realize dreams, and implement ideas
to improve lives. Good designs turn ideas into products and systems to meet the
needs of the consumer. Engineers and designers use a systematic method of
solving problems called the design process. Because there is never just one solution
to a problem, the process of design is iterative that means that potential solutions
are continually tested and improved upon until the best possible solution under
current circumstances is reached. As new technology is available, there may be new
problems that arise and new solutions that become possible. Imagine if we were still
driving the first practical gasoline-powered automobile invented, an open three-
wheeled vehicle? Innovations to the automobile have occurred because new
technology has become available and modern consumers demand more
sophisticated systems to meet their needs and desires.

Gateway notebook
Computer with Internet access
Headphones to plug into the computer

In this activity you will learn about the steps in the Design Process and apply them to
a challenge completed by the PBS Kids Design Squad team.

1. Complete the Design Process Notes page of the handout attached as your
teacher explains the PLTW Design Process using the Design Process
2. Log in to a computer with headphones and listen to one of the Design
Squad videos from Season 2. Use this URL: http://pbskids.org/designsquad/,
then choose from one of the design challenges that the Design Squad
completed. You can choose from: Cardboard Furniture, PVC Kayak, Green
Machines, Gravity Bikes, Water Dancing, Backyard Thrill Ride, Big Bugs, Aquatic
Robotics, Band Cam, No Crying in Baseball, Hockey Net Target, Off-Road Go-
Karts 1, and Off-Road Go-Karts 2.
3. Complete the Design Squad area of the handout after watching the video
on the computer.
1. Complete the conclusion questions and turn in the activity to your

2011 Project Lead The Way, Inc.

PLTW Gateway Introduction Activity 1.2.1 Design Process Page 1
Ebun Oni, Richelle Mena, Aaron Valdez

Design Process Notes

1. What is design?
Design is a process that is used to systematically
solve problems and is often referred to anything that
was made by conscious human effort.

2. What is the design process?

A design process is a problem-solving strategy
with criteria and constraints and is used to solve or
satisfy human needs. First you would need to design
the problem, second generate concepts, third you must
develop a solution, after that construct and test the
prototype, evaluate the solution, and finally present your

Design Process Step Definition Example

Define Problem Determine the situation for which Someone needs an inexpensive
you need a solution. way to celebrate a party at their
house. Create a simple party
Generate Concepts Brainstorm what you can create. I could create a confetti launcher
that is made out of simple
household leftovers that wont
cost them extra.
Develop a Solution Come up with a plan to solve the We will make a confetti launcher.

Construct and Test Build a model of your solution We built a model using toilet
and test how it works. papers inner role as well as a
Prototype balloon and small pieces of
colorful paper.

Evaluate Solution Determine whether or not your The confetti launcher was able to
solution has solved the problem. launch properly and sent confetti
paper into the air.
Present Solution Now that you have solved the When we presented to our client
problem, present your solution to they were pleased.

Design Squad
1. Which video did you watch?

2011 Project Lead The Way, Inc.

PLTW Gateway Introduction Activity 1.2.1 Design Process Page 2
Ebun Oni, Richelle Mena, Aaron Valdez

Kid Engineer: Home Helpers

2. In your own words, describe the problem/challenge that was given to the
The teams had to come up with ways to help around the house, of the
teams, one had to make something to make snacks more easy to eat on the
couch, and the other had to make a way to help their dad get up the stairs easier.
3. List the criteria and constraints that were given to the teams.
There werent many constraints, the team only had materials they had
around their house because they were home helpers.
4. Complete the table below, describing what each team did at each stage of
the design process.

Green Team Purple Team

The problem was that they Their father had difficulty going
Define Problem couldnt eat snacks without up the stairs with his broken
spilling them on the couch or on ankle, so the kids had to create
the floor. a way for him to easily .
The kids wanted to keep snacks They thought that they could
Generate Concepts and drinks close, without spilling make their fathers cane more
them, they figured a flat-topped stable for when he was walking
table would work. up the stairs.
The solution was to build a tiny The solution was to make a
Develop a Solution table that would stay on the arm cane with an extra piece to add
of the sofa and prevent bowls and support so that it wouldnt slip.
cups from falling off.
They started by drawing out the The handle had a T shape so
Construct and Test table, then building it and putting a that you could go on stairs in
Prototype wood stain on it to smooth it so it both directions, and had their
wouldnt snag the couch. mom test the height.
Their first table was really loose The girls decided to make the
Evaluate Solution on the sofa arm and slid around, bar adjustable, so that it will fit
and the bowl and cup fell off of the the height of the person, and
sofa. different stairs.
They added a ledge on the edge The final product was essentially
Present Solution of the table to prevent things from the original solution and it
falling. There was also wider worked very well.
edges to hug the couch better.

Conclusion Questions
1. Why do we use a design process?

2011 Project Lead The Way, Inc.

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Ebun Oni, Richelle Mena, Aaron Valdez

We use the design process to plan the project around solving the problem
and to make sure that we are using the most efficient solution with the least
amount of possible error.

2. Which stage of the design process do you think is most important? Why?
The most important part of the design process is the planning of the actual
item. This is because this is the stage that is necessary for creating a solution.

3. Teamwork is an important part of completing projects and design

challenges. If you were working on a team, how would you contribute to the
If I were on a team, I would contribute by completing my tasks and helping
other members in areas that they may need assistance.

4. Which team won the challenge that you viewed? Based on what you saw,
how would you explain their success?
There was no winner, however, the team that had the least amount of
revision needed was the Purple team, though both of the teams did very well
and everyone in the video found a solution with simple products and an efficient

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