The Business of Design
By Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, December 4, 2007
- Middle School
- Design for the Other 90%
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
Two fifty-minute class periods
Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum’s Design for the Other 90% exhibition demonstrates how design can be a dynamic force in saving and transforming lives, at home and around the world. Of the world’s total population of 6.5 billion, 5.8 billion people, or 90%, have little or no access to most of the products and services many of us take for granted. In fact, nearly half do not have regular access to food, clean water, or shelter. Design for the Other 90% explores a growing movement among designers to design low-cost solutions for this “other 90%.” In this lesson students will examine the varied aspects of design businesses, and create a presentation highlighting what they learn.
Common Core Literacy for Other Subjects
Strand Reading for History/Social Studies Grades 6-8
RH.6-8.1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources. RH.6-8.8. Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.
Strand Writing for History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects Grades 6-8 WHST.6-8.2. Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes. WHST.6-8.7. Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
Common Core English Language Arts
Strand Speaking and Listening Grades 6-8 SL.6-8.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacherled) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. SL.6-8.2. Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
Language Arts - Reading
Standard 7. Uses skills and strategies to read a variety of informational texts Level III. Benchmark 1. Reads a variety of informational texts (e.g., electronic texts; textbooks; biographical sketches; directions; essays; primary source historical documents, including letters and diaries; print media, including editorials, news stories, periodicals, and magazines; consumer, workplace, and public documents, including catalogs,technical directions, procedures, and bus routes)
Language Arts - Writing
Standard 1. Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process Level III. Benchmark 5. Uses content, style, and structure (e.g., formal or informal language, genre, organization) appropriate for specific audiences (e.g., public, private) and purposes (e.g., to entertain, to influence, to inform)
Working With Others
Standard 1. Contributes to the overall effort of a group
Standard 10. Understands basic concepts about international economics Level III. Benchmark 7. Understands that increasing international interdependence causes economic conditions and policies in one nation to affect economic conditions in many other nations
Benchmark 1. Understands the spatial aspects of systems designed to deliver goods and services (e.g., the movement of a product from point of manufacture to point of use; imports, exports, and trading patterns of various countries; interruptions in world trade such as war, crop failures, and labor strikes)
- investigate the Design for the Other 90% exhibition
- explore varied aspects of the design process
- listen to a podcast on design
- read design business articles on entrepreneurship and economics
- respond to writing prompts
- participate in small-group and large-group discussion
- conduct internet research
- create a class presentation
- work collaboratively in small groups
- “The Business of Design” handout (attached)
- Cooper-Hewitt's Design for the Other 90% exhibition
Computer with internet access
Building Background Investigating the World of Design
The purpose of this activity is to introduce students to the connections between design and business.1. Ask the students to brainstorm a list of things they know about business and economics. Then, review or introduce some of the basic concepts of economics and business listed below:
- Increasing international interdependence causes economic conditions and policies in one nation to affect economic conditions in many other nations
- The characteristics and features of viable business opportunities
- How cultural difference, export/import opportunities, and current trends in a global marketplace can affect an entrepreneurial venture
- Global economic interdependence
- Why do some people think design is only for the wealthier parts of the world?
- What are some factors to consider in designing for the poor?
- What is the relationship between quality and price?
- What are some challenges in adopting new products?
- What is needed to attract young designers to working with the poor?
- How does this article connect to the Design for the Other 90% exhibition?
Steps for Learning The Business of Design
The purpose of this activity is to provide students with an opportunity to investigate a variety of design businesses. 1. Divide the class into small groups. Give each group a copy of “The Business of Design” handout.2. After each group has presented its work, lead a class discussion based on the following questions:
- What did you learn from your classmates’ presentations?
- What was the best part of each presentation?
Create a class rubric with your students that will help them understand the effectiveness of their work. Use the following guidelines to help create the rubric.
- Rate the effectiveness of your business research efforts.
- Rate the creativity of your presentation.
- Rate the overall quality of your presentation.
- Rate how well your group was able to collaborate.
Enrichment Extension Activities
Differentiation for High School:
Find a local design business that is willing to come and speak to your class. Have the students prepare questions and do research prior to the visit.