To challenge designers to build to think and develop a physical representation of their idea early.
10-60 min depending on kinds of ideas being prototyped
Small Groups 2-6
What is Physical Prototyping?
Physical Prototyping is the process of making a physical representation of an idea. Early in the process physical prototypes can be made of all kinds of materials. Physical prototypes allow the designer and users to interact with the idea. By building an idea designers are challenged to "build to think" and thus gain deeper insights.
Why teach Physical Prototyping?
Creating physical prototypes of ideas is a central component to the design process as a whole. By iterating early and often designers are able to come to much better final results. Developing the skill of making an effective prototype is a valuable skill that young designers will use throughout their career.
How to teach Physical Prototyping?
To teach physical prototyping it is helpful to have lots of different prototyping materials. Prototyping materials can be anything from pipe cleaners, to old paper bags, to tape, to string to odds and ends found around the house. Once you have set up a station with plenty of prototyping materials it is time to challenge your students to create their prototypes. Early in the process it can be helpful to limit prototyping time so that students create rapid iterations and don't find themselves getting too attached to an idea.
Sample Lesson (10-20 min)Materials:
Prototyping materials (ie. construction paper, yarn, tape, pipe cleaners, toys, fabric, glue, popsicle sticks, anything else that seems fun)Pre-work:
Students should have an idea or ideas that they want to prototype. These can come from an exercise like the wallet exercise, or any other design challenge that you are working on as a class.Build initial prototype: 8 min
Give students 8 minutes to build an initial prototype. Stress that you want them to be building to think. Give them only a short time so that they build something quickly but do not spend too much time on the details.Present ideas: 5-10 min
Have students tell the story of their prototype to the class.Get feedback and repeat (optional)
If you want you can challenge students to get feedback from another group and iterate on their idea.
Back to Curriculum Home Page