Empathy Warm Up
Empathy is a key piece to successful design thinking AND a desired skill for everyone, students, teachers and admin. To start off our intro to design thinking, ask participants to turn and talk to an elbow partner about an event that had gone awry. The listener then has to repeat the story back to the storyteller. This is a great warmup for design thinking and empathy, since it puts the listener into the shoes of the storyteller, when s/he repeats it back. Roles can then be switched so that each partner experiences both roles.
Mock Up Cards
A second activity for design thinking can use Mock Up cards. These decks are split into User, Constraint and Need, with each group tasked to brainstorm and create a solution for the User's Need. For example, Ancient Egyptians (User) need a way for children to play outside (Need) that is waterproof (Constraint).
Each group has a unique set of three cards, paper to brainstorm on, and aluminum foil for prototyping. Interested in trying it out in your classroom?
Some Additional Resources
Current thoughts and ruminations on educational technology.