How better to learn about design than by chucking a raw egg over a balcony? Besides being a highly exhilarating release (Weeeee! SPLAT!), it also turns out to be a great hands-on way to teach basic design principles to kids. My Adaptive Path mate Ljuba Miljkovic and I just tried it out with two fantastic 12 year-olds (Thanks, ladies!), and it went something like this…
First, we explained five key principles of the design process:
- We use design to solve problems.
- We never know the solution when we start—and that’s okay. We’ll figure it out.
- There is always more than one solution, so we brainstorm lots of them (concepting).
- We try out some of those solutions, and pick the one we think works best (prototyping, user testing).
- It’s never perfect the first time, so we keep tweaking it till we get it right (iterations).
To illustrate our point, we took on a design challenge: create a container for a raw egg that will keep it from cracking when launched over our 2nd story balcony, using only the following materials:
(And 4 pipe cleaners. Admittedly, we cheated a little with the tape and used more than one strip.)
We ended up with five very different approaches.
And the moment of truth: We dropped them from our balcony.
The best, most surprising part, was that the designs we thought would make it were destroyed—and the ones we thought would fail, survived! Here are the eggy remains to prove it: