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Design Thinking Methods for Educators

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Method Cards

Teaching aid for educators, add your own cards to this template

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Why & How
Students can be encouraged to ask Why and How questions around phenomena. “Why” probes the reasons/factors/events behind the phenomena and “how” focuses on explaining them.
Understanding cause and effect relationships.
Visualizing events in history (e.g. events leading up to a conflict and its repercussions), chemistry (molecular chain reactions), biology (stimulus-response) etc. that occur in a timeline.
Propose a Question
Students are intrinsically motivated to learn when an explicit knowledge gap is present. Asking questions about phenomena that are commonly seen in the surroundings can help identify this gap.
When the subject matter you’re teaching is based on phenomena that students have observed in their surroundings.
When it is possible to cover the entire concept in a single session.
Observing & Journaling
Asking students to observe phenomena would trigger an exploration. Journaling helps students process information and later consolidate what they observed.
Individual pre-work to build interest in the subject matter to be taught in upcoming classes.
Promoting an intentional and multi-sensorial observation of a phenomena in the students’ surroundings.
Fostering a note-taking habit in the students.
Talking & Questioning
Framing questions in itself is a learning opportunity which encourages students to think about the topic. Talking to people will help students to expand their knowledge, learn in a non-traditional setting, observe how the same question can have different answers, and become more comfortable with asking questions.
Learning beyond the classroom environment.
Exploring societal topics/issues.
Understanding and accepting others’ point of views to generate empathy.
Identify & Summarize
Finding patterns and connecting concepts is an intuitive way of making sense of information. This can be summarized by students to make a knowledge bank of key concepts.
Helping students identify their knowledge gaps.
Recapping and condensing learnings.
Building bite-sized knowledge repositories.
Concept Map
A visual method to map out phenomena/ideas/concepts by forming relevant connections or identifying dependencies.
Breaking down large topics or problems.
Identifying interdependencies, connections, and cause-effect relationships.
Creating visual snapshots of classroom discussions.
Comic Strip
Comic strips are an excellent method of visual storytelling and can be used to solidify the understanding of a concept. They help break down the concept into action.
Better understanding of a concept that is sequential in nature.
Replacing fill-in-the-blanks questions (e.g. for topics in history, boxes can be labelled with important years associated with an event. Students can draw simple drawings or name what happened in that year; for languages, students can illustrate/write a short story in the style of a playwright).
Ideating and capturing imagination.
Simple experiments conducted prior to teaching a new concept can create curiosity which leads to an intrinsic motivation to learn the science behind the phenomena.
Helping students think critically and investigate phenomena.
Keeping students engaged and focused while explaining related concepts.
Eliciting and tackling misconceptions that students might have related to the phenomena.
Build & Create
Making models and prototypes adds a dimension to ideas and concepts learnt in class. It is a way of stretching the students imagination and help in developing problem solving skills.
Encouraging learning by doing.
Building the habit of prototyping and testing.
Adding dimensionality to concepts and textbook images/diagrams.

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