What's on your mind? (ITERATE)

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Students will be able to: 1) Define design mindsets; 2) apply understanding of design mindsets to the iteration process; and 3) publicly present applied understanding of design mindsets.

Big Idea

Designers use feedback from the testing stage to improve prototype solutions, but iteration requires openness to design mindsets. How might we use process reflection as an opportunity to build awareness of design mindsets?

FRAME: Why teach mindsets?

Beliefs influence actions.  Mindsets are deeply held beliefs.  Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck has popularized fixed mindsets and growth mindsets.  Her research demonstration that what a student believes about the nature of intelligence and ability directly impact effort levels and learning outcomes. Engineering design thinking requires certain mindsets.  Without explicitly teaching these mindsets, students may never be able to fully access the learning experiences of this course.

Here is Carol Dweck talking about her research:

Classroom resource

A visual summary of Dweck's mindset from the Association of American Colleges and Universities is attached.

What materials will we need?

  • Chart paper
  • Design mindset handouts
  • Post-its

What's your mindset story?

10 minutes

What will students do?

Students will answer the following two prompts silently in their journals:

1) Which statement do you agree with more: 

  • Intelligence and ability are fixed at birth.
  • Intelligence and ability can change over time. 

Describe your choice using evidence. 

2) How do you think this beliefs has influenced your behavior in school?  Again, use examples.

Students will share with an elbow partner and then we well engage in a class discussion.

What will the teacher do?

I will chart student responses and push students to include as much evidence as possible to support their ideas.  Together, we will look for trends in the data.  How many of us have a fixed mindset?  How many of us have a growth mindset?  How many of us think that mindset depends on context?  What types of trends do we see in the data?  How might our mindset influence our performance in school?

Mini-lesson: How do beliefs about my mind influence my design process?

6 minutes

How will I structure this mini-lesson?

I have talking point that I want to hit, but I also want to align this lesson to the share out in the opening activity.  To that end, I will make explicit use of charted answers from the opening activity to tie my talking point to claims students made, evidence offered, and themes that were identified.

What are the primary talking points of this mini-lesson? 

  1. Beliefs influence actions.  Another word for beliefs is mindset.  
  2. Mindsets can change.  
  3. In design thinking, iteration means that we reflect on feedback and make changes to improve a prototype.
  4. However, iteration is difficult unless we have certain design mindsets.
  5. Our goal today is to understand some important design mindsets and to think about when we embraced these design mindsets during the engineering design process we have experienced over the last few lessons.
  6. We will identify stage of the engineering design process that we might have experienced differently if we had a different mindset.
  7. Finally, we will revise our rapid prototypes one last time with some understanding of engineering design thinking mindsets.


Operationalizing design mindsets

10 minutes

What is the classroom setup for this activity?

Each student will receive a copy of the "design mindsets" handout. There will be seven pieces of chart paper on the walls in the room; each will be labeled with one of the design mindsets.  There will be Post-its at each lab station. 

What will students do? 

Each member of a lab team will choose one mindset to operationally define.  Each definition will go on a Post-it.  Each should also be in the form of an action that happened at some point during the engineering design process that we experienced over the last few lessons.  When a student has written the definition, it will go on one of the pieces of chart paper along the walls in the room.

Once all Post-its are up, students will conduct a gallery walk to give feedback on proposed operational definitions.  Students will put a plus next to definitions that they think represent a mindset; they will put a delta next to a mindset that they think does not represent a given design mindset.  Students will put at least one plus and one delta on each sheet.

What will the teacher do?

I will model how to create an operational definition using one of the design mindsets.  Example: "Craft Clarity" means to write a "how might we" question that neatly captures the design problem.  I will also narrate positive actions I see during the gallery walk.


The mindset-engineering design process challenge

28 minutes

What will students do?

I will randomly assign each group to one of the mindset poster on the wall and I will give the whole class a design challenge.  

How would you change one of the learning experiences that we have had so far in this course to help students develop the mindset you have been given?  Identify the specific activity, explain what you would change, and describe how you think it would improve students' ability to empathize, define, ideate, prototype, or test.  You will create a poster that captures your prototype solution and you will present your work to the class as a one minute "instant publication."  Finally, you will examine the feedback from the rapid prototype you presented in the previous lesson and explain how might get even more feedback by applying your understanding of your assigned mindset.  You have 20 minutes.

What will the teacher do?

I will push students thinking when relevant, but mostly I will observe and assess students' understanding of concepts we have introduced this week as well as the mastery level of their engineering design thinking behaviors using the attached rubric.

EXIT TICKET: Process debrief and reflection

5 minutes

How was your thinking about engineering design processes changed?  Explain with evidence.  

Students will submit responses as an exit ticket.  I will assess student mastery of the lesson objectives from this data.

HOMEWORK: Final prototype submission

Student groups will submit a final version of their prototype using this form.  Students will vote for each other's submissions during the "Our prototype contract" lesson as a way to select student-generated prototype solutions to historically common problems of classroom culture, student assessment, and blended learning environments.