Design Studio: Framework and Activities for Innovative Problem Solving introduces students to a design-thinking process they can use to address critical real-world problems related to important social or environmental issues, such as reducing campus energy consumption, improving public transportation, or increasing community access to healthy food.

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Design Studio brings the EcoRise design thinking process to your classroom. The five-step framework guides students through a creative problem-solving process to help them devise solutions to specific sustainability challenges. The program provides a flexible educational adventure that is grounded in the methodologies of design thinking, systems thinking, project-based learning, and participatory planning.

Design Studio includes:

  • A comprehensive Facilitator’s Guide to help orient teachers to the EcoRise design thinking process and design an effective inquiry-based learning adventure that has students designing and completing their own sustainable design project. It provides helpful classroom tips, templates, and enrichment opportunities

  • An introductory lesson that defines design-thinking, inquiry-based learning, and systems thinking and helps students understand the value of these methods for innovating sustainable solutions

  • Six modules and 40 engaging activities from which teachers can choose to meet classroom needs

  • Student worksheets, answer keys, and exemplars

Here are the five key steps of Design Studio, an innovative and flexible problem-solving process that is based on design thinking:


Students explore how a given challenge impacts the environment and community, analyze stakeholder viewpoints and assumptions, and begin to define the ultimate goal and purpose of a project.


Students consider how design and innovation can be used to engineer creative challenges to complex problems.


Students brainstorm to cultivate new ideas, stimulate creativity, and begin designing their innovative solution.


Students evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their proposed solution, share and receive feedback, and refine in order to improve.


Students learn how to share their work in a compelling and relevant way, seeking to engage and empower their community through their design.

I find that EcoRise has allowed me to not only be a better teacher, but is has allowed my students to become better learners. It has brought excitement back into the classroom for so many of my students and it brings out leaders that I never had before!

Houston Teacher

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