As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on these boards, I’m currently working with a program organized by the DX (Design Exchange, based here in Toronto) that put’s professional designers into elementary school classes.
program info is here: http://dx.org/education/programs.html
The principal goal of this education program is to raise awareness and understanding of design and the essential role it plays in our everyday lives. Another goal is to inspire students to pursue careers in the creative and artistic fields.
Each participating designer will lead one class of students through the Designers in the Classroom program. With the guidance of DX, designers and teachers will work together to prepare a project plan that fully integrates design and the design process with the current art curriculum. One objective of the program is to infuse the current curriculum with new perspectives from visiting art/design professionals.
After preliminary discussions/meetings between teachers and designers, the classroom program will run over the course of six weeks, where the designer will visit their class once a week, for approximately half a day. During these visits, they will take on the bulk of the teaching responsibilities and introduce the students to the work of design. The designer will also work with the students, the teacher and DX to find suitable materials for development. During the program, students will learn about form and function, as well the general principles of design. Each designer will provide a context for design by presenting examples in art and design history as well as contemporary art/design works and will lead their class of students on a design project. Each project will follow the design process and will include the development of a portfolio of preliminary sketches and drawings leading to a final prototype.
The culmination of this program will result in an exhibition of student-produced work in the Chalmers Design Centre at Design Exchange opening in January 2009. Students will be required to create a ‘designer’s statement’ explaining their concept, choice of materials and the name of their project. An opening reception will allow all of the participants and parents to meet and discuss the students’ work.
I figured it might be an interesting exercise to post my lesson plans here as I go along and get feedback and thoughts from any other designers, educators, etc.
The class will be a grade 5 class, and the project focus will be to give an overall understanding of design, what designers do, how the design process works, and ultimately to have the students research, plan and design their own shoe.
The shoe they will make, based on a design brief they write, will be constructed from paper mache over a last, painted up with materials and such glued on, and if there is time, they’ll also do a shoebox design and possibly a hangtag to go with it.
The in-class sessions will be approximately once or twice a week for a total of about 20hours. (not incl. prep time).
Here’s the broad strokes of the lesson plan. I’ll provide more detail of each lesson as I make/teach it.
a. Personal Introduction
b. LESSON: Introduction to Industrial Design / Design Process Introduction
i. Design for Users
ii. Design for Problem Solving / Function
iii. Design for Aesthetics
c. HOMEWORK: Find an designed object at home and write about who it is for, what problem does it solve, and why it was designed the way it was.
a. Project Introduction â€“Footwear design and branding
b. LESSSON: Introduction/History of footwear
_i. Footwear parts
ii. Footwear and function and desig_n
3. TRIP: BATA Shoe Museum
a. LESSON: Target markets and branding
i. In Groups, students are assigned a general footwear type (ie. Running, Training, Outdoor, Court, etc. ).
b. ACTIVITY: Develop a target market and brand name/identity
i. Students discuss these groups and determine a more specific type of shoe / target market (ie. Basketball shoe for girls, Running shoe for cold weather, etc.)
c. ACTIVITY: Develop a target market and brand
i. Brand name, logo
d. ACTIVITY: Develop a design brief for a shoe to address the target market and brand
e. HOMEWORK: Bring in cut outs of magazines, catalogs, etc. for your target market / group
a. ACTIVITY: Create an inspiration board collage from the cut-outs for your group/target market
a. LESSON: Footwear design process
i. Students switch groups to adopt a different target market to design for.
b. ACTIVITY: Design drawings â€“ Footwear and Packaging
c. REVIEW: Review of design drawings / Group critique
d. HOMEWORK: Write an explanation about your design and how it addresses the target market / brand
a. LESSON: footwear manufacturing processes
b. ACTIVITY: Create the project shell (paper mache) over a last
c. ACTIVITY: Cover the shoebox with plain paper
a. ACTIVITY: Upper design model making / painting
a. ACTIVITY: Outsole design model making / painting
a. ACTIVITY: Trim and Detailing + Finish up
a. ACTIVITY: Packaging Design â€“ Boxes and hangtags/tissue
a. REVVIEW: Review of work / Group critique
Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated. I’m not all that familiar with the knowledge/skills of grade 5 kids (it’s been a while since I was one myself), so esp. insights into how this might work for them would be great.
My general thoughts are to show the importance of the process of design (ie. it’s not just about drawing something and it’s done), the idea of design as problem solving, and also the concept of making/testing your idea through modeling.