Using design thinking to battle sea pollution

Updated: May 29

Makers a les Aules is a project that uses Design Thinking to reflect how technology can be applied to solve/enhance real-life problems, mostly based on actual SDGs. This project in particular wanted to work on battling sea pollution (SDG 13 and SDG 14). When observing the different materials about sea pollution and getting closer to problem reframing by answering to “What, Who, Where, Why and How” questions, the pupils decided they were interested in two areas: how pollution affects sea animals and how to battle the plastic pollution in the sea.

The ideating session also consisted of the three steps centred around technology): 1. think about everyday life devices and artefacts that we use, 2. list their functionalities (e.g. a vacuum cleaner → draws pollution and gathers it in a compartment, a camera → takes pictures of the environment and saves the data). 3. combine functionalities that you think can be of use for your problem.

Pupils were given the liberty to combine all the ideas/functionalities they found relevant. And in order to make the idea more realistic, they were given a checklist asking them to reduce the functionalities they thought unnecessary/unachievable, and only keep those that are achievable and essential to solving the problem. Once that is done, they can start prototyping their idea. Students comment: “what if I give it an animal shape so it won’t scare other sea animals?”, “I want mine to use the sea water to generate its own energy”.

Prototyping the idea gave them a better understanding of why reducing ideas into achievable feats is important since it means we essentially focus on the problem at hand alone and not the extra elements that may belong to another design challenge altogether. To add an extra technological aspect, pupils use Makey Makey and Scratch in order to simulate a functional prototype. Therefore, once the fair day is on, their prototype can introduce itself by having the pupils push a few buttons of the Makey Makey.

Source: Makers a les Aules