Design a Resilient Future

Design a Resilient Future

Engineers, entrepreneurs, academics, and changemakers from around the world are using a Design Process to design solutions for a variety of problems. The process is human-centered, generates lots of ideas, and revolves around creativity and experimentation. The Design Process can be utilized on a rapid scale and completed in a few hours or can be stretched out to last a few weeks in the classroom. The out of the Hasso Plattener Institute of Design at Stanford University is a leader in design education and we use their resources for the basis of this lesson. In this lesson, students will work in small groupsto develop an idea to increase community resilience in one of six community sectors, utilizing the Design Process.

Context for Use

This lesson is part of the Community Resilience Expo, a culminating event for the HEART Force curriculum unit, where students will share what they’ve learned during the hazard lesson and the role-playing game.

There are several options to create a sequence of Expo lessons that works best for your classroom. Students can choose to communicate existing ideas that have been developed in local resilience planning efforts or to develop a new strategy or project.   

Potential preceding Expo lessons: 

Design image

Students develop ideas using the Design Process.

Photo Credit: Stanford’s d school.

Goals Header
Learning Goals

Students will create a human-centered design solution for their sector to increase community resilience.

Teaching Materials

User note: To make an editable copy of the teaching materials in Google Drive, select File > “Make a copy”. This will make a copy for you to save to your own drive and edit as you see fit.






Activity 1 – Introduction (4-15 minutes) Design Process Overview

As a class, introduce the Design Process and give an overview of what students will be doing during the next class period(s).

Activity 2 – Empathize (8-40 minutes) Interview and Research

Students gather information through interviewing experts, community members, or each other.

Activity 3 – Define (6-15 minutes) Capture Findings and Take a Stand

Students define the problem area they’d like to focus on in their sector.

Activity 4 – Ideate (15-30 minutes) Generate Solutions

Students develop ideas, brainstorm solutions, and gather feedback on their ideas.

Activity 5 – Focus (3-15 minutes) Choose One Solution

Students narrow in on one idea and develop it further.

Activity 6 – Prototype and Test (15-60 minutes) Make the Idea Tangible

Students create a physical prototype or something their classmates can interact with and gather more feedback on their idea.

Activity 7 – Iterate and Launch (15-60 minutes) Share Your Idea with the World

Students incorporate the final feedback and polish their ideas to present to the public.

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