The next phase of our fifth grade design unit is to develop new products which are sustainable in some way.
We begin by thinking through the list of designs we saw in our Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum catalog from the Design Life Now exhibition. We talk about categories that these designs fall under, such as technology, sports equipment, footwear, etc. Then we brainstorm other categories that we might consider for product design possibilities. Then in groups the students come up with a new product they want to design. The product can be something that does not already exist or products that do exist combined in a new way. I also allow them to design products that can not actually exist on earth at this point in time.
The students create 3-dimensional prototypes or models of their products using any available materials that I have in the classroom. They design the packaging for the product and develop a marketing strategy. Each group is responsible for coming up with a company name and designing a company logo.
Finally, the students present their products to the class by developing and acting out commercials. They dress-up and bring in music and props. They have a lot of fun with this and it really influences the way they think about the products they buy and how those products impact the environment.