Design Project

Design Thinking is a process for creative problem-solving, which includes Discovering insights, Ideating solutions, Prototyping designs, and Sharing to get feedback. Over the course of 7 lessons, students will develop an app to address a problem or challenge. The goals of this project are:
  • For students to experience the process of design thinking
  • To build a minimum viable project (MVP), not a final product.
  • To present their projects to an audience and receive feedback.
All resources and lessons for this project can be found here.
Example Projects (requires an Android Device to load apps)



What is the Design Process?


The Design Process is a technique used in the professional world for creative problem solving. It can be used to design just about anything- from everyday objects like wallets and chairs, to processes like waking up in the morning or giving gifts, to technology like mobile apps. For most classes, you will design an app that will help others solve a problem or challenge.

 Students go through 4 main steps in the Design Process:
  • Discover:  Learn about a topic or problem through research and interviewing others.
  • Ideate: Use the insights you have developed, you will brainstorm ideas to test.
  • Prototype: Build a model of your app to test and get feedback on.
  • Share: Present your app and reflect on your experience.


Lesson 0: Explore Apps that Help Others

Objective: Students explore apps that help solve problems and brainstorm topics
Design Project Guidebook Pages: 2 – 8


Activity #1: Analyze Design

Lesson 0- Design and Function- Household Items

Activity #2: Explore Apps that Help Others

Lesson 0- Explore Apps that Help Others

Activity #3: Brainstorm!

Lesson 1: Empathy and Interiews

Objective: Students Brainstorm, Pick topics and partners, and Prepare Interview Questions
Design Project Guidebook Pages: 8-14

Activity #1: Spot the Fake Smile

Test your ability for empathy by trying to determine whether or not the smiles that you see are real or fake.

Lesson 1 Empathy- Spot the Fake Smile

Activity #2: How to Conduct a Research Interview

Activity 3: Interview Classmates

Lesson 1- Interview Notes

Lesson 2: Market Research and Problem Statement

Objective: Research Apps and Websites related to your app and Create a Problem Statement
Design Project Guidebook Pages: 14-17



  1. Market Research
  2. Discovery Summary
  3. Writing a Problem Statement
Lesson 2- Problem Statement

Lesson 3: Wild Idea Dash and One Standout Idea 

Objective: Complete the Wild Idea Dash, receive Feedback, and construct One Standout Idea
Design Project Guidebook Pages: 18-21


Activity #1: Wild Idea Dash

Lesson 3- Wild Idea Dash Examples


Activity #2: Feedback Session

Activity #3: One Standout Idea

Lesson 3- One Standout Idea

Lesson 4: Paper Prototype and Pitch Presentation

Objective: Develop and build a Paper Prototype
Design Project Guidebook Pages:  22-31


Activity #1: Paper Prototype

Lesson 4- Paper Prototype


Activity #2: Pitch Presentation

Activity #3: Feedback


Lesson 5: Plan Algorithms and Build MVP

Objective: Plan algorithm for your app and Build a Minimally Viable Product (MVP)
Design Project Guidebook Pages:  33-36

Activity #1: Plan Algorithm

Lesson 5- Algorithm

Activity #2: Build MVP

Activity #3: Find Bugs

Lesson 5- Bugs


Lesson 6: MVP Feedback and Iterate

Objective: Receive and implement feedback on your MVP
Design Project Guidebook Pages: 36 – 39

Activity #1: MVP Feedback

Activity #2: Iterate


Lesson 7: Reflect and Prepare Presentation

Objective: Be able to tell the story of your app

Activity #1: Capture the flow of your thinking

Lesson 7- The Flow of our Thinking (1)

Activity #2 : Tell a Story of Need

Activity #3: Present