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Overview and Benefits

Overview and Benefits

What is Design and Discovery?
Design and Discovery is a free curriculum that introduces youth, ages 11-15, to engineering through design, and helps students create an awareness of the role engineering plays in our society. In an extended sequence of hands-on sessions, students follow a design process and build working prototypes that solve problems in the engineered world.

The Design and Discovery curriculum is best implemented in a setting that allows for extended learning—an after-school club, a summer camp, or youth program. The Design and Discovery Web site is designed to be a complete resource for organizing and implementing your own program in a school or community setting.

What do students do?
With a focus on the designed world around them, students explore fundamental concepts of design and engineering through hands-on activities. They start by improving on an existing design and wind up developing working prototypes of their own inventions. Along the way, they learn how to wire electronic devices, apply mechanical principles in building a model toy, and develop an eye for improving everyday objects. Students present their prototypes in a design and engineering showcase and are encouraged to enter their final projects in science and engineering fairs.  

Why teach design and engineering?
Studying design and engineering gives students an opportunity to look more critically at the world around them and become involved with creating change. Engaging in the design process provides students opportunities to learn about the design and creation of products and strengthen skills in problem solving, creativity, risk-taking, and decision making. The skills and knowledge developed with a design course have wide applicability in everyday life and across a variety of curriculum areas.

The Design and Discovery curriculum is focused on motivating youth to become familiar with the design process, to understand related core science content, and to then use this new knowledge to become designers themselves. The curriculum follows a design process that guides working engineers and designers.

How can I implement a Design and Discovery program?
Everything you need to know about organizing your own successful program using the free printable resources available in the curriculum section. Complete plans for the 18 sessions (a total of 45 hours of hands-on, inquiry-based activities) include clear directions for the activities, resources for leaders and mentors, ideas for field trips, and accompanying readings to engage young learners. 

What are the Benefits of Design and Discovery?

Meaningful Learning

The Design and Discovery program is a print curriculum with supporting resources available for download at the Intel® Education Web site at no cost. The curriculum invites 11- to 15-year-olds to explore engineering by engaging in hands-on, design activities. It provides an environment where science and engineering concepts and skills are applied in ways that make them meaningful to students. The curriculum takes students through a series of activities, building their understanding in a sequential way, as they identify and design solutions to problems significant in their own lives. The design activities require students to develop concepts and principles from real encounters with their own world.


The Design and Discovery curriculum builds young people's knowledge of engineering, design, and science to support the development of inquiry skills, and to involve them in sustained problem solving. By participating in the design process, students begin to experience and understand how much of the world around them is created. Engaging in real design and engineering gives students an opportunity to look more critically at the designed world and tap into their own capacity to create change. Students formulate problems from everyday situations and develop strategies to solve the problems, while verifying and interpreting their results. Design and Discovery helps students understand the role of engineering and design in producing effective solutions to real-world problems.

Building Communication Skills

Students are encouraged to share and present their design solutions to others in an Intel ISEF-affiliated fair or a community showcase. The final presentations of design projects help build effective communication skills as students clearly articulate and describe their ideas and understanding of scientific and engineering concepts. Students prepare oral and visual presentations, field questions, and respond to feedback related to their projects. Through the use of a design notebook throughout the program, students keep written documentation of ideas, discoveries, sketches, and notes that can also be shared with their peers, parents, and community members.

Encouraging Systems Thinking

The Design and Discovery curriculum helps students build meaningful connections among skills and knowledge that are often the domain of discrete academic disciplines. The inherent interdisciplinary nature of design encourages students to begin looking at the idea of whole systems. Engineers and designers looking at a transportation system would need to study such interrelated products as cars, roads, maps, and bridges in order to find solutions to problems. Design problems often lie within these complex systems and require a variety of skills in order to develop solutions. As students start identifying design problems and researching solutions, they begin to think in whole systems, find connections, and recognize patterns.

Overview and Benefits

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