Design Prompt .pdf
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that design is
is not style. It’s
not about giving
shape to the shell,
[but] not giving a
damn about the
guts. Good design
is a renaissance
attitude that combines technology,
human need, and
beauty to produce
something that the
world didn’t know
it was missing.”
– Paola Antonelli
Create a kit of components for
a fourth grade classroom which
teaches a complex idea through
multiple activities or lessons. The
design will be visually and intellectually stimulating, clear and
well-organized, and engage with
students on multiple levels.
The premise for this project is
the concept that children are
capable of comprehending vastly
more complicated information
than adults give them credit for.
Instead of dumbing-down and
over-simplifying content, we
will explore ways of structuring
complex information into smaller
concepts that build on each
other. (In order to understand the
topic of architecture, for instance,
we must understand some basic
physics concepts, such as gravity
and load-bearing.) These curriculum kits become a family of
collateral for the topic, intended
as classroom aids for teachers.
SPECIFIC PROJECT OBJECTIVES
Research a complex topic and
re-present its three most important aspects as a series of
sequential learning activities.
Consider scale and the wider
context of the topic, subtopics, and activities – individual
students, groups of students, the
entire class or multiple classes,
the workspace (desk, table, classroom), and the school property.
Design an integrated visual
system to cohesively brand the
entire kit (and umbrella topic),
and to provide a logic and clarity
for all components.
Manage and present the
content in a manner (vocabulary,
organization, writing quality/
voice) suitable to the audience,
supporting the teacher and guiding, challenging, and empowering
GENERAL PROJECT OBJECTIVES
To present a well-crafted
design solution which solves
the problem within the timeframe
and with all requirements fulfilled
To articulate how effectively a
design fulfills project criteria to
solve the problem (in writing,
words, and/or imagery)
Each student will develop one
curriculum kit (detailed on p 2).
It is comprised of:
3 learning activities
a teaching guide
Present this content in a way in
which YOU would be intrigued;
do not make the assumption
that 10 year olds require Comic
Sans and primary colors; wow,
intrigue, and challenge them, and
they will engage.
I will organize you into groups of
4 or 5. Each group will brainstorm
and decide upon an overall group
topic (i.e., human body), and each
student will develop a kit on a
specific sub-topic (i.e. nervous
system, digestive system, etc.).
Each kit should share a visual
connection or identity with the
overall group topic. Consider also
how the kits and posters will relate to each other physically and
visually in a classroom setting.
The overall visual cohesion of
a groups’s kits is an important
part of the project. However, you
have control over your own work
and the end result of your efforts;
no one will be pulling others’
There will be one Project Manager per group. This person will
be responsible for being up-todate on the status of the project
at every classtime, for discussion
with the other Project Managers and myself. We will also
share resources and decide upon
review/crit schedules, classtime
expectations, what components
are due when, and the format for
Each group must have an
timetable, and submit it to me; I
will reference it and check on the
status at each class. Something
must be due each classtime,
even if it is minor.
This is a large project that will be
graded in two stages; a midpoint
review (10 points) and a final
design (25 points); each group
must define what will be graded
at the midpoint review.
Attendance at each class is still
mandatory, unless pre-approved
for a research (or other) field trip.
Each group is limited to 2 maximum, and they cannot coincide
with other groups’ trips. A writen
proposal for the trip is required
for approval beforehand.
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