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Project-Based Learning - Design a birthday party for your partner!

What if there is a different approach to teaching that can- 

✅ improve your student’s academic success

✅ develop their love of learning

✅ increase engagement in your classroom and

✅ help your students develop the crucial skills for success


Will you be willing to give it a go in your classroom?

Will you open your mind, let go of your current way of teaching and try something new?

The only way forward is by leaving previous ways of doing things behind. 

If you are a teacher who is also a life learner and keeps looking to improve themselves and provide their students with the best learning experiences, then this mini-project is for you!


Your thinking drives everything in your life

The way we think drives our success in life. 

If you think about it, your life is a collection of problems. And these problems are not bumps in your journey. They are your journey!

Take a moment to reflect upon your life and consider your reaction to a few big problems. 

Did you get annoyed?

Did you want to get rid of these problems ASAP?

Did you feel like a victim?


What would it mean for you if you had a positive approach towards problems?

What if your problems can propel you to where you want to get?

What if problems are opportunities to achieve more than what you hoped for?


With a particular way of thinking and tools, problems can propel us. Issues have the power to help us grow personally and professionally.  


Therefore, the key to success in life is-

  • having a positive approach towards problems

  • knowing a process, tools, and strategies that help us solve problems

  • our ability to find creative solutions to problems

  • knowing that we can tackle any problem


It is about developing our thinking capabilities and learning a way that enables us to find creative solutions to problems. 

Therefore, teaching your students how to think and approach problems is vital to their happiness, well-being and ability to flourish in a complex, ever-changing world. 

There is a teaching framework you can use to develop your students' thinking capabilities. You can use this framework with your current curriculum. 

It is up to you to choose if you want to use it, as you have the autonomy to decide HOW you teach. You can teach to the standards and curriculum you need to follow while embracing this powerful teaching method called – Design Thinking. 

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a combination of mindset, approach, methods, and tools that enables you to develop innovative solutions to problems. (Or create a better future) At its heart, Design Thinking is human-centric, which means we approach the problem with the desire to understand the reality and the different points of view of the people who are related to this problem. It means we approach others with empathy, an open mind, and a strong desire to understand and help.

In Design Thinking, we are solving the problem WITH the people who are facing this problem. (As opposed to solving it FOR them)

For example – if there is a problem related to a student, you will explore and solve this problem WITH the student, not FOR the student. This student will work on finding a suitable solution with you. In Design Thinking, we follow a process called The Double Diamond. (This process enables you to solve any problem)

It is also important to note that Design Thinking is a hands-on approach. We progress on our problem-solving journey by doing things and testing our thinking.

Why Design Thinking?

The connection between Design Thinking and education lies within the skills people develop when they learn and apply Design Thinking.

Design Thinkers are excellent problem solvers. This means they are innovative and inventive in their thinking. And this, in turn, means they have developed their beautiful 21st-century skills. 

Therefore, learning and practising Design Thinking will help your students develop the skills they need for success today, cultivating aptitude to problem-solve, curiosity, creative and critical thinking, resilience, empathy, and ability to collaborate.  

Moreover, Design Thinking goes beyond the specific knowledge-focused fields and lays a strong foundation for success in any career.

This process also develops a growth mindset. For example, Design Thinkers know that failure is part of the journey: they learn from it and start again. 

As you probably know, today, we have complex global problems to solve, such as food security, children’s education, gender equality, and global warming, to name a few. These problems can’t be solved using the same thinking that created them: we need to develop a different kind of thinking. Design Thinking develops creativity and teaches us to find unusual connections, enabling us to arrive at unique solutions.   

Many organisations already recognise Design Thinking as a powerful way to drive successful outcomes. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation uses this methodology to successfully solve some of the most complicated problems we face today, such as polio eradication.

Moreover, many start-ups and companies, such as Airbnb and Netflix, also use Design Thinking to drive their success. 


Research Declares Design Thinking as the 21st century pedagogy

Many research papers have already declared Design Thinking to be the 21st-century pedagogy.

Here are a few examples of such research-


Concordia University- research focused on the impact of using Design Thinking to help students develop their mathematical skills. The analysis of the data provided evidence that teachers saw Design thinking as a strategy that helped students master math concepts and developed students’ confidence in their capabilities to tackle any mathematical problem.

This research concluded that adopting Design Thinking as a teaching and learning framework helps students develop higher levels of thinking skills.

The study also found that Design Thinking helps students develop their metacognition and understand the learning process.

The study concluded that using Design Thinking helps foster collaboration gives students voice and choice and allows for powerful engagement. It also stated that using Design Thinking as a teaching framework brings creativity into the classroom and helps develop an innovative learning environment.

Columbia University researched the relationships between Design Thinking and STEM.

They have investigated how using Design Thinking as a teaching and learning framework facilitates the development of 21st-century skills and provides a constructivist framework for STEM learning.

This study found that using the Design Thinking process positively impacts students’ mindset towards failure and improves overall academic performance.

This research shows that practising Design Thinking principals shifts students' attitude towards failure and provides new evidence for why one would want to incorporate this process in the first place.

This study concludes that Design Thinking is the ideal pedagogy for cultivating the mindsets and skillsets that will enable students to thrive today and in the future.


Lesley-Ann Noel and Tsai Lu Liub from North Carolina State University explored whether Design Thinking should be used as the new twenty-first-century education paradigm at primary schools (Noel, 2016).


These researchers found that Design Thinking students develop collaborative problem-solving skills, creative and critical thinking, empathy, social skills, teamwork skills, and a growth mindset. Furthermore, they concluded that Design Thinking challenges students to find solutions to complex problems and supports students' academic performances. 

This research affirms that Design Thinking educators can make a lasting impact on students' life skills by teaching them this process. It supports the inclusion of Design Thinking as professional development for teachers, as it offers strategies for improving teaching and learning. This type of professional development will expand and enhance teachers’ capabilities by helping them use Design Thinking to deliver existing content in a way that improves students’ academic performances.

The research concludes that exposure to Design Thinking education at the primary school level lays a solid foundation that would benefit all children, leading to greater engagement at school and contributing to their future success in their professional lives.

This mini-project is your perfect first step in helping your students become excellent problem-solvers and designers.

It is your easy way to introduce Design Thinking in a fun and engaging way and leave your students wanting more.


You don’t need to have Design Thinking knowledge to facilitate this project.


Who is it for

This project is designed for teachers who want to help their students –

  • Develop their 21st century skills

  • Develop empathy

  • Learn how to design solutions to real-world problems

  • Learn to consider other people’s needs, wants and desires

  • Become excellent problem-solvers

If the above sounds like you, this project is exactly what you are looking for!


This pack includes

  1. Design a birthday party for your partner – lesson plans  (30 slides)

  2. Design a birthday party for your partner – facilitation slides

  3. Design a birthday party for your partner – students’ worksheet

  4. Design a birthday party for your partner – facilitator worksheet



What will your students gain from doing this project?

This project will develop your students –

✅ Creative thinking

✅ Problem-solving skills

✅ Research skills

✅ Ability to collaborate

✅ Communication skills 

✅ Empathy

✅ Critical thinking

✅ Understanding of the Design process

To facilitate this project, you would need to –

  • Print out the facilitator worksheet for yourself

  • Print out a student worksheet for each student

  • Have a timer (there are online timers you can use)

  • Have a laptop and a monitor so you can use the facilitation slides



What is the duration of this project?

The duration of this mini-project is about 60 minutes. It can be less or more, depending on the duration of the discussions you would have as a class.

Want to help your students become excellent problem-solvers?

Purchase this pack now for only $5 USD to start your Design Thinking journey.

Click on the image below to inspire your students and bring creativity and collaboration to your classroom today!

Design a birthday party - TPT cover.png
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