We watched this short, funny video, where everything manmade is falling apart and vanishing! This started a good conversation about design. With students saying things including 'design is everywhere' and 'without design we would not be so advanced'. I used this video to show them how interdisciplinary design is, and that many people, who don't think of themselves as 'designers' still use design, (the example I pointed out, was the musical instruments falling apart. Maybe the person who made them would call themselves a musician, instead of a designer - then I spoke to them about people who made medicine, maybe identifying as scientists, or doctors, but still using the design process to make their product/solution).
Our next activity was a game, where students had to come up with lots of questions about mystery objects. I said they did not have to worry about the getting the answer, they could think of all sorts of weird and wonderful questions, and that shortly, I would reveal what the objects were.
After students have some time to think about the objects, we go one by one, discussing, then revealing what they are!
This is a toy which helps educate little children about plastic pollution in the oceans!
The students who have been looking at this object know that there is a zip in the bottom. I have one of these whales, so I show them, but I don't let them see what is inside till the big reveal! After students share their ideas, I slowly pull out all the plushy litter from the inside of the whale! Students seem to really like this, and it was not what they expected at all! My grade 8s will be doing an educational toy unit in a few weeks, so this also plants an important seed!
"Icefin is a hybrid remote or autonomous underwater vehicle (ROV/AUV) that is both modular and field-portable; it is essentially a small, long-range, deep-water, under-ice robotic oceanographer. "
Students were so pumped when they found out what this does...and even more pumped when they found out I have ordered one for the design room! Students were impressed with the video, mainly because 'it looks so satisfying' and 'the thread is soooooo strong'! We had a little discussion about how this 'cuts out the middle man' when it comes to recycling - and how this could mean we would never have to buy string again!
In one class a student then reminded me of the Adidas Parley - a shoe made from ocean waste - so we watched this video too:
I don't tell the students straight away what this is, but I tell them "I spent some time in India this summer, and saw these everywhere in north India. These were the only thing I really wanted to buy, and I fell totally in love, but could not find them anywhere! Eventually Anshu Sharma (MYP Coordinator at Noida Pathways) saved the day, but taking me somewhere to pick these up... Her driver took me to a place where a few trucks were stopped and a couple of people were selling these off of a small cart. What are they?"
After some more guessing I reveal that these are tassels that people use to decorate their trucks. Often truck drivers are away from friends and family for eight months a year - so when they first buy the truck, the family decorates it beautifully - by hand painting it, even adding poems, and adding tassels! It's also a way to take pride, and show off that their truck is the best!
Photographer Dan Eckstein documented these trucks beautifully in his book "Horn Please - The Decorated Trucks of India"www.hornpleaseindia.com/
With this last object students came up with some brilliant ideas! They could see that the product was called "Air Ink", so thought it could be:
I also really like this video because:
After a few minutes of discussion I have every student hold out their hands to show me how big it is! Some people think it is tiny, some people think it is giant! Many students thought it was a Taiyaki pan (something I also own...!). Some students thought it was a paper weight!
Before watching the following video I remind students of the design cycle, and how we might have an idea, but our research and testing, and when we know our clients better, means that we go back and change and improve our product. I also remind them that the man featured, but also not call himself a designer. If you only watch one video in this blog post...I recommend this one:
We end the lesson by doing the following activity, which helps them answer the big question "What is Design?"