Design Awareness

See the world like never before.

Design Awareness is a collection of thinking routines adapted from the maker-centered learning framework developed by Agency by Design*. Thinking Routines are short, engaging, two-or-three step patterns of learning that guide students to practice slowing down, looking closely, and questioning existing designs.

Through Design Awareness students learn to see the world around them like never before by looking closely at the design of existing objects, exploring more complicated systems, and developing an understanding that these systems can be changed and improved.

By practicing Design Awareness students will learn how to:

1. Zoom In

These thinking routines help students slow down and use their senses to examine objects and notice their parts. Students will begin to see how the parts of particular objects work together for a purpose.

2. Zoom Out

Further curiosity with these thinking routines designed to help students see the bigger picture of what goes into the design of an object. Students will place objects within a larger system and identify various people who played a role in developing them.

3. Wonder

Building on information that was identified by zoomin in and out, these thinking routines encourage students to explore the possibilities of improving an object’s detail, the system it exists within, or the role of the people within the system.

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*Changemaker K-12 Design Awareness is adapted from the thinking routines developed by Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has been developed with help from a National Science Foundation Grant.

Zoom Out



Step 3

After you've completed both "Parts & Purposes" and "Parts & People"

Finished with Design Awareness Routines?

Your students are now ready to move on to the next stage of becoming Changemakers. It's time to Design for Function!

Design for Function