Design Challenge

Design Challenge


    Design Challenge

    Course Syllabus


    General Course Objectives


    The Design Challenge course at Columbia Middle School builds upon the problem-solving processes learned in the iSTEM course that all students take during the 6th grade. The course is student-centered and incorporates project-based learning.  Students review “Design Thinking” and the Design and Problem-Solving process and are then given design challenges where they apply the skills learned in a systematic approach to problem-solving.


    Students will be given the design challenge of building a Marble Maze where they must meet specific criteria and constraints. Students will then design and build a basic Mousetrap racer and then take what they have learned and apply it to building a larger and more advanced Mousetrap racer. The students will then take the same approach to design and problem solving and build a basic model airplane and then take their findings and what they have learned to design and build a more advanced airplane. The projects allow students to construct different iterations of their solutions to the design challenge.


    The Design Challenge course aims to prepare students for life, developing 21st-century skills through learning how to apply problem-solving processes to real-life situations. The course is divided into units that are designed to progress in difficulty as students better develop their skills. The modules cover various fields of study. After content information is covered, the student must apply the information to solve problems illustrating the concepts. Each module provides a knowledge, application, and analysis component. The student monitors the results and produces data that is analyzed for accuracy. Revisions are made as needed.


     General Course Outline

    Unit 1 – Design Thinking and Design and Problem-Solving Process

    Unit 2 – Sandal Design Challenge

    Unit 3 – Marble Maze

    Unit 5 – Raven basic model plane, followed by Advanced Right Flyer model plane


     Grading & Homework

    No homework will be given.  Rubrics will be used to assess student projects. Google Classroom is used during a teacher's absence to distribute students' work.

    Students will be given a weekly grade for their classroom work on projects and participation in activities.

    Student grades will be based on a point system of 10 points per week.