The Importance of Design Thinking

Today’s Contributor: Andrea Rieck

My name is Andrea Rieck and I am a First Grade teacher. This is my 6th year teaching 1st graders and I have loved every second of it!

Ever since I started teaching, I have wanted to add some type of “Maker Space” into my classroom. This year, I finally figured out a way to make it happen! I thought it would be helpful to share what I have learned from incorporating this type of area into my classroom and lessons.


1. Organization and easy access are key. First I put my “Maker Space” in a cabinet. It was too hard for my students to get to the materials and for me to keep up organizing with, etc. Having “user friendly” organization also allows your students to take ownership of the entire space.

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2. There are certain simple skills that are helpful to teach to the young students (in addition to the exploration time that they have with the materials).

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3. Design thinking lessons are vital to adding purpose to lessons that incorporate a “Maker Space.”

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4. These types of designing lessons can be incorporated with any subject area! Below are some examples of lessons my students have done.
● Reading: My students read “The Most Magnificent Thing” and then had to come up with a problem in their life to solve, just like the main character did. Then they designed something to solve the problem.
● Math: When learning about Even & Odd, my students designed and created their own “Even Monster” and “Odd Monster” using items and technology available to them.
● Science & Social Studies: When learning about Properties of Solids & Fire Safety, my students thought about the properties of different solids and used those properties to make the tallest ladder they could.

Hopefully this helps you in your journey to incorporate new and exciting ways to add purpose to what your students are learning.

Happy Teaching!


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