Design Thinking in Kindergarten

This weekend I had the opportunity to visit my friend and her son who is in kindergarten. I remembered from EdCamp talking about the Design Thinking and being able to use it with kindergarten kids. I have used a modified version but I wanted to try the process again.  I often had to write for him but there are some times that he also attempted to write.

  1. Identify the task: What to name Courtney’s new car?
  2. Understand the task: We went downstairs to the parkade and sat in the car, opened all the doors, honked the horn, and played with the lights. We couldn’t go for a drive because we didn’t have car seats
  3. Ideate: We made a web of all our ideas. Some I wrote and drew a picture  next to, some I wrote and he drew a picture next to, some he just yelled out and I wrote and some he wrote and told me what it said and I re-wrote. Mom and I related this to brainstorming just like the Movers (apparently this is from the disney channel) do to plan what to do.  We even included the names my students came up with in the morning sticky note question.20141026161440713 
  4. Build on ideas: Why were some ideas better than others? We talked about if the car should have a human name or not. He decided the car should be a girl because it was pretty, so we focused on female names,
  5. Synthesize: We rewrote the names into a list and put a question mark next to the ones we were not sure about, crossed off the ones we did not like and put a star next to the ones we loved. He did the crossing and Mom did the stars and question marks. We then got it down to the top 3 stars – just like in hockey.
  6. Prototype, Evaluate, Refine: We were going to draw a picture but he wanted to just call the car the name and see if it sounded right. At 9 pm, the kid had a good point. we had Sketch, Molly and Rosey. Sketch was taken off right away. Rosey we were not sure about but Molly we both loved.

My car now has a name and I realize that the design thinking process is possible at any age. My grade 5s struggled with the idea but I realized that if I were to explain it like they were five, they’d get it. It was a very powerful exercise for both of us.

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