The Extraordinaires Design Challenge is a great activity for a classroom or a group of children to get them thinking. We chatted to teachers who ran the challenge with their class.
The teachers, based in Northern Ireland, used the Challenge as a way to cover a part of the STEM curriculum. They had brought the students to places like FabLab to experience 3D printing and other technologies. They used the Design Challenge as a way to introduce the design process to children, the precursor to the technology they had seen making all of these fabulous things in FabLab.
One teacher completed the Challenge themselves and presented their design to the class when explaining the contest. They said that this helped the students understand what they had to do. They asked their students to brainstorm in groups which produced lots of ideas. They watched their class as they took part in discussions on their potential designs, indulged in strategic thinking, planning, empathising with their audience and independent thinking.
Overall, it took teachers 10-15 mins to get the children set up and started on their designs. One teacher mentioned that students sometimes have an aversion to trying new things, so they actively get them to undertake projects like this that they have no prior experience with.
Students sketched out their plans and made two to three drafts before they finished on something they were truly proud and confident in.
The Extraordinaires Design Challenge is open for submissions until April 25th. Anyone under 18 on the island of Ireland can enter. First prize is a 3D Printed Prototype of the winning design, in association with FabLab Belfast!
Everything you need to take part is available at www.extraordinaires.com/DesignChallenge.