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Design Thinking And Visualisation Skill Development Using Popsicle Packs

What A pack of 100 ice cream sticks or ‘Popsicle’ as they are called can do for your Design Thinking Skills

If you put your mind to it, you can come up with plenty of creative ideas for using everyday things and items in new and interesting ways.

For example, did you know you can use the humble pack of Popsicle sticks to generate design ideas through prototyping and model creation?  And not just that…There are lots of interesting and innovative things you can make with these simple items if you really start thinking creatively.

The various permutations and combinations that can be used to create 2D and 3D designs using ice-cream sticks are innumerable. You can create design prototypes, working science models, art and craft models and much more using various sets of permutations and combinations by grouping the ice-cream sticks in an interesting manner. With creative designs from your imagination, you can make as many projects with these as you can think of.

Sometimes students/designers get so caught up in the physical prototyping that they forget about the thought process that goes into fashioning the idea and then creating it. To allow the design students to sit down and think about the process and to encourage them to come up with innovative ideas, ice-cream sticks are a good way to enable ‘Low Tech Prototyping.

Here are some ideas found on the vast ocean of ‘internet’ to invoke you to think creatively and create some new designs.


Use Of Tangrams In Design Thinking Skill Invocation & Improvement

'Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that integrates the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.'

Design thinking is a planned and structured methodology used by designers to develop and deliver products, services and experiences that address potential human human needs. By espousing design thinking principles, designers  can develop low cost working prototypes for various needs and test them in real time. Design thinking can be also be applied to intricate problems that are difficult to untangle. Using design thinking, we can transform our cultures to become more innovative and creative.

What is a #tangram and what is the purpose of a #tangram?

Tangrams are ancient, very interesting Puzzles of Chinese origin which are made up of seven different loose geometrical shapes in a set. Using these shapes one can create thousands of depictions and designs.

There are certain restrictions while creating the designs and this is what makes it truly challenging and fascinating , invoking your Design Thinking Skills. The purpose of this puzzle is to use all seven pieces or tans to create a picture or design. The ancient rules dictate that the pieces must lie flat, they must touch and they are not allowed to overlap.

The imposed restrictions challenge your brain to think creatively and in an innovative manner to get a solution ( which is the design here). These exercises with Tangrams help develop visualisation skills for designers too.

Another activity is to solve tangram puzzles .Here you may  take a tangram picture/image and figure out how the shapes were placed to create that image . You may think it to be simple ...!! But try it out, it is really a challenging activity.

Students aspiring to take design examinations should definitely use Tangrams to improve their visualisation and innovative thinking skills.

What does a tangram teach?

Like building blocks, tangrams can teach students about spatial relationships. They help to learn geometric terms, and develop stronger problem solving abilities. They even help students perform better on tests of logic and reasoning.

Using tangrams gives students an opportunity to use a manipulative set to construct understanding of geometric ideas. Using tangrams can help students develop spatial skills. They can move the pieces around to note the relationships, and learn about flips, slides and turns (reflections, rotations, and translations). 


The tangram consists of 7 geometrical shapes - 5 triangles (small, medium and large), 1 Square and 1 parallelogram, all cut from 1 perfect square.

Let us show you how to make a #Tangram, with or without a template - it is very simple.

What do you need to make a #tangram?

A #tangram can be made of thick cardboard, felt, foam sheets, magnetic sheets, wood and more, the choice is yours. 

You need a square sheet of the material you choose to use: 12 x 12 cm is fine, a marker and a scissor. You may make them from 30cm x 30 cm or 60cm x 60cm boards too if you need bigger sizes to work with. 

The Chinese made them from these ordinary materials as well as precious metals, mother of pearl or ivory.

Here are some pictures for you to get started with your design thinking activities.

You may attend our Design Thinking Workshops for more skill development activities.

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