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Q2. What's Your Problem?

15. Design Thinking


In this Quest, you and your team will begin the design thinking process by looking for problems to solve. To discover real-world problems you’ll need to listen and observe to develop empathy with all sides of the problem. Ultimately, you’ll define the problem you are going to solve and how solving this problem will make a difference.

I Can Statements

  • use digital and non-digital observation skills to identify real-world problems that need to be solved 
  • develop an understanding of the problem through empathizing with those whom the issue affects

Key Vocabulary

Empathy: The ability to understand and feel what someone else is experiencing.

Problem: A question proposed for a solution or discussion. 

Play the Vocabulary Game to practice the Key Vocabulary

You can change the Quiz mode to Match, Test, Learn, Flash Cards, Spell using the selection list at the bottom right of the activity that says "Choose a Study Mode." Direct Link


1. Identify a Problem

  • Generate a list of at least three problems in your community that affect you, someone, you know, or your entire community. Look for problems in your daily life that could be solved by creating an object or a process. Record your problems in your Design Thinking Workbook from Quest 1.
  • Not sure where to start? Ask your friends, teachers, or family members about problems in their lives. Still, stuck? Check out 80,000 hours to find some social issues affecting people globally.

2. Dig Deeper with Research

  • Use your skills from Thing Nine: Search Strategies to research the problem you chose. Identify things that help you understand the problem better like who it affects and how it affects them. Make sure to cite the places you visit in your Design Thinking Workbook.

3. Empathize

  • Understanding the problem from the eyes of the person who is affected is an important part of designing something to solve a problem. Watch the following video about Empathizing in Design Thinking.


  • Who is affected by your problem? How are they affected? How might they feel about this problem? Describe their emotions.
  • Complete the following statement in your Design Thinking Workbook: _________________ is/are feeling _________________ about _________________.

4. Define

  • Describe your problem in your Design Thinking Workbook. How will solving this problem make a difference? Record your answer in your Design Thinking Workbook.

Completing this Quest

You have completed this Quest after completing the I Can Statement and steps above. After you’ve researched your problem, found some empathy with those you may be designing for, and defined your problem, ask your teacher to approve and adjust your problem before going on to Quest 3: Big Ideas.

 Check off this Quest on the 21t4s roadmap 

  I am ready to go on to Quest 3

MITECS  Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students, and

ISTE Standards for Students

3. Knowledge Constructor
c. Curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts or solving authentic problems
d. Build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions

7. Global Collaborator
d. Students explore local and global issues and use collaborative technologies to work with others to investigate solutions


Videos from Outside Sources

21t4s Videos

21t4s Website

21t4s Documents & Quizzes