What does Design Thinking look like in Kindergarten?

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients. A design mindset is not problem-focused, it’s solution focused and action oriented towards creating a preferred future. Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be—and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user.

Design Thinking in Kindergarten

In Excellence, we just wrapped up our unit on Who We Are. Our main focus involved inquiring into ourselves and also, our peers. For our culminating unit activity,  students were paired up with a partner and were given the challenge of getting to know them better. Students interviewed their partner(s) to find out what they liked, disliked, and what their abilities were. As students collected details about their partner and sorted out their information, we began the “Empathize” phase of the Design Thinking process:


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Empathize: “Develop a deep understanding of the challenge”

Students put themselves in their partner’s shoes to find out what product would be of most use to them.

Define: “Clearly articulate the problem you want to solve”

Students created a mind map to define and explain why this product would be of great use to their friend.

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Ideate: “Brainstorm potential solutions; select and develop your solution”

Students created a sketch of what their product would look like and what materials they would need.

Prototype/Test: “Design a prototype (or a series of prototypes( to test all or part of your solution”/“Engage in a continuous short-cycle innovation process to continually improve your design.” 

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Students spent weeks perfecting their product. Their products were constantly evolving. Their product would look one way on Tuesday and then take on an entirely different look on Thursday. Students kept lines of communication open with their friend as they would frequently meet with them to receive and give feedback on how to improve their product.  

Please take a look at the videos below to listen to our students explain the purpose behind their Design Thinking projects: 



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