Prompt that says, "Prototype a dog treat launcher using a microcomputer."
3-12, Creative Thinking

Sharpen Stem Activity and Design Generators

I learned about the Sharpen Stem Activity and Design Generators to help with the Design Thinking process during the same #AppleEDULeaderChat where I learned about Susan Maynor’s Imaginariums. The Sharpen Generator tools are web-based, and offer randomized prompts to get you thinking about creating. They are similar to the Protobot tool I wrote about a little over a year ago. Though there are two separate generators — Design and Stem Activities — you could use for Design Thinking, the Stem Activities one is probably has the most potential to be utilized effectively by the readers of this blog.

From Sharpen Stem Activity Generator

As you can see in the image above, you can click on the “New Challenge” button to generate different prompts. You can also lock the parts you like and continue hitting the button for the segment you aren’t quite satisfied with, yet. There are three categories of challenges you can choose from: Inventions, Build and Engineer, and Create and Draw. Once you choose one, you can bookmark it and even set a timer for completing it.

The Design Generator seems better suited for secondary students due to the difficulty-level of some of the terms I generated. Of course, it is actually a tool that can be used by people who design for their professions, so it has some complicated suggestions.

Something else that you might note on the site is that there are STEM Lesson Packs available to download. However, these are not free. They run between $9-$12. I have not previewed them, so can’t offer an opinion about their worth.

I love doing workshops with teachers on Design Thinking, so contact me if you are interested! For some free downloads that encourage creative thinking, check out my S.C.A.M.P.E.R. packs on the Downloads for Teachers page!

Design creates culture.
Culture shapes values.
Values determine the future.

Robert L. Peters, Graphic Designer & Educator

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