Design & Engineering for Empathy (1 of 5): The Design Cycle & Innovation

Lesson Title: Design & Engineering for Empathy (1 of 5): The Design Cycle & Innovation
Academic Standards:
Content Creator: Mr. Craig Frehlich
Level: High School
Duration: 30-40 min
  /  Design & Engineering for Empathy (1 of 5): The Design Cycle & Innovation


  • Students will be able to create novel solutions to complex problems.
  • Students will be able to apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products.
  • Students will be able to design improvements to existing machines and technologies.
  • Students will be able to apply skills and knowledge in unfamiliar situations.
  • Students will communicate effectively by interpreting and using effective modes of non-verbal and verbal communication.


In this lesson, students will be introduced to the design thinking process that is used to solve complex problems and as a tool for innovation. Being creative and innovative can be taught and enhanced through explicit and implicit practice. Students will flex these thinking skills by playing a game that requires them to adapt an object by improving it, transforming it, or combining it with another object.


  1. Participants meet in auditorium.
  2. Introductions and protocols related to how to learn in VR.
  3. Teacher introduces ice breaker slide "2 truths and a lie" and has participants identify which is the lie about him.
  4. Students design their own "2 truths and a lie" on sticky notes and partner up with another participant to see if they can guess each other's lie.
  5.  The teacher shows the slide "What is the Design & Engineering Process?"
  6. Field trip to "The Skate Park".
  7. Teacher explains game---Let's Play a Thinking Game-Disruptus.
  8. Participants are taken to the large art studio space with whiteboards.  The teacher establishes the rules and protocols on how to play the game again.
  9. Participants play the game by drawing on whiteboards in the art space. (20 min)
  10. Participants return to the auditorium for a debrief session related to the game.

Demonstratives & Media

Classroom Space
Virtual Field Trips & Lab Demonstrations
Instructional Videos
3D objects

Suggested Ancillary Support

Key Vocabulary-

Describe: Give a detailed account or picture of a situation, event, pattern or process

Design : Produce a plan, simulation or model.

Develop: To improve incrementally, elaborate or expand in detail. Evolve to a more advanced or effective state.

Evaluate: Make an appraisal by weighing up the strengths and limitations.

Justify : Give valid reasons or evidence to support an answer or conclusion.

Present : Offer for display, observation, examination or consideration,

Prioritize: Give relative importance to, or put in an order of preference.

Summarize: Abstract a general theme or major point(s).

Iterate-is the repetition of a process in order to generate an outcome.


See this link for the slide deck used in the lesson plan