Design as a Catalyst for Learning

Davis, Meredith

The design process can lead to a deep understanding of the abstract concepts taught in schools. It puts ideas to work in situations that allow students to test themselves and the value of learning in everyday life. When children are engaged in the process of designing--a product, a building, a city plan, or any object--they are learning to identify needs, frame problems, work collaboratively, explore and appreciate solutions, weigh alternatives, and communicate their ideas verbally, graphically, and in three dimensions. With periodic self-assessment and critiques of work in progress, students come to understand that performance testing and continual improvement are as fundamental to the design process as they are to lifelong learning. Teachers nationwide are using the design process as a problem-solving tool to integrate curriculum, teach thinking and communication skills, and encourage students to apply academic concepts in authentic tasks. This ground-breaking book developed in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Arts provides an introduction to effective design activities and strategies for every grade level and subject area.

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