Lesson 3: The Design Inquiry Cycle

In this lesson, you will learn about the Design Inquiry Cycle. The Design Inquiry Cycle is a combination of the Stanford d.school's Design Cycle with inquiry-based learning I designed for use at Quest to Learn school in New York City. During this lesson, you will play a game to learn the steps of the process for creating a Design Inquiry process, then parallel this cycle with Common Core Standards.

Lesson Objectives:

  • Discriminate design-inquiry cycle steps.
  • Identify connections between design-inquiry cycle steps and the Common Core Literacy Standards.

In this lesson, you will:

  • Play DesignQuiry, a game designed to help you discover the steps of the design-inquiry cycle.
  • Match design-inquiry steps to Common Core Literacy Standards.

What is the Design Inquiry Cycle?

In this reading and writing model, students use reading and writing skills to solve a challenging question or problem. This process encourages the development of systems thinking, as well as the development of literacy as outlined by the Common Core Standards. This model draws upon Stanford University Institute of Design’s Design Thinking model, as well as more traditional ELA workshop models.

This is the Design Inquiry Cycle designed by Rebecca Grodner and Shula Ponet of Quest to Learn

Students begin this process by empathizing, or forming a deep understanding of the topic, through reading and analyzing various texts, in order to build up research, inspiration, or understanding of a topic or genre. Students may empathize many times throughout a cycle.

Then, students define the means and purpose of their communication, in order to prepare to brainstorm what needs to be collected, analyzed, and evaluated in order to begin writing or creating.

Next, students pass through a series of prototypes, or drafts of their writing.

They test to revise, edit, and refine their writing through various forms of teacher-, peer-, and self-evaluation.

Finally, students apply their learning to solve the inquiry and reflect on their success in solving the inquiry.

Activity: Learn the Design Inquiry Cycle

Click Here to Play DesignQuiry to learn the steps of the Design Inquiry Process

Check out the Prezi by clicking the link above!

So What Does This Have to Do with the Common Core?

Since many teachers are responsible for teaching to the Common Core, it is important to see the deep and intricate connections between the Common Core and the Design Inquiry Process.

Insert info from Darling-Hammond

Give yourself this little quiz to figure out which Common Core Standards can be covered by which steps:

Click Here to Take the Design Inquiry and Common Core Quiz!

Take the quiz and find out how the Design Inquiry Cycle lines up with the Common Core Literacy Standards


Now that you understand the steps of the Design Inquiry Process, move on to Lesson 4: Writing Curriculum with the Design Inquiry Cycle to begin writing your own Design Inquiry Cycle for use in your classroom..

Return to Using Design-Thinking and Inquiry in Teaching Literacy

Go back to Lesson 1: Inquiry Go back to Lesson 2: Design Thinking

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