Grade 3

Kid Designer

Innovative Designer
kid in vest, hardhat and drill


PBS Kids Design Squad Global provides information, videos, and opportunities for students to participate in hands on activities. Students can also share their ideas and view the ideas that other students have submitted. This site allows students to develop design process skills and apply them to a variety of engineering challenges.

Students will:

  • Understand how to learn to navigate the Design Squad website.  
  • Be able to view videos, and review the ideas of others around authentic global issues.
  • Be able to select a problem in order to explore and develop a solution.
  • Be able to apply and develop their design process to a global issue.
  • Be able to consider design constraints in their solution.

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Design constraints: Design constraints are possible limitations in time, money, expertise, materials, conditions and potential obstacles. 

  2. Deliberate Design Process: The deliberate design process is to intentionally use a series of steps to solve a problem or design a solution. 

  3. Innovative: To be innovative is to feature new methods, advanced or original thinking.

  4. Prototype: A prototype is a preliminary model of something, especially a machine, from which other forms are developed or copied.

To prepare for this lesson:

  • Teachers should familiarize themselves with the Design Squad website. Visit the “Parent and Educators” section.

  • Watch this motivational video meant to inspire teachers to provide innovative opportunities in the classroom. The video is lengthy, however, the first 5 minutes are informational.

  • See the Accommodations Page and Charts on the 21things4student website in the Teacher Resources. 
  • Read and Write for Google Chrome can be used to help students with reading deficiencies as they navigate the Design Squad website.

  • Screencasting may be used to create tutorials for students who will have difficulty navigating the website. (Screenpal, Snagit, Screencastify)

Directions for this activity:

  1. Teacher models navigation to the Design Squad website.

  2. Teacher models the features available under the four different green tabs located at the top of the page; Watch, Design, Build, and Games.

  3. Have the students view the Show Recycling Nudge video. 

  4. Allow students the opportunity to ask questions about navigating the site.

  5. Share other videos found on the page to promote students to generate their own design challenge as time permits.

  6. Help students consider design constraints.

  7. Students can begin to develop their ideas to share. (This is a good activity to have them work with a partner). Students should be prepared to present their problem and plan for a solution. If students struggle with coming up with an idea, they may be directed to the “Design” tab and view the Global Challenge to begin their design plan.  

  8. Students use an online note-taking and sharing tool (such as science notebook, slideshow, or Google Doc) to communicate their problem, solution, and plan to the class for additional ideas and suggestions.

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • Using an online notetaking and sharing tool, (science notebook slideshow, or Google Doc) students should present their design challenge problem, preliminary plans, ideas, and model sketches.
  • This could also be completed using a collaborative chart type document.
  • Teacher discretion should determine if students will provide the details above as a small group or individually.

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Innovative Designer
4a. Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
4b. Students select and use digital tools to plan and manage a design process that considers design constraints and calculated risks.

Device: PC, Mac, iPad 

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

Read and Write Extension for Chrome
Screencastify for Chrome

Motivational Video

PBS Kids Design Squad Global




Students can be provided opportunities to  communicate and share their design process ideas in a variety of ways. Advertisements can be created and shared digitally and/or orally.

Students can develop posters or 3-D models of their proposed solution.

Design constraints can be explored through the gathering of statistics about their issue.

Design challenges can meet the expectations of the NGSS engineering and design standards.

Design challenges could relate to public policy issues.

This task card was created by Lisa Fenn, Lakeview Public Schools, February 2018. Updated October 2023.