Our Method for Teaching Engineering Design

We have developed a dynamic method for teaching the engineering design process, with the goal of expanding access to, and participation in, the creative process for our youngest learners.

Identify the Problem

Students are introduced to an authentic design challenge.


Gather Information, Build a Model, and Tinker.


Plan & sketch their design, "Shop" for items to bring it to life.

Build, Test, and Redesign

Let’s get building!

Reflect and Share

Students reflect before presenting their designs.

Our Extended Research Phase

The League’s method addresses equity right from the start. We’ve built in an extended research phase – filled with playful experiments and explorations – which allows ALL students to gain the necessary background knowledge and hands-on experience before moving on to designing their own solutions in the origination phase.

Identify the Challenge

Students are introduced to an authentic design challenge that is referred back to throughout each phase as a common goal each student or small group is working towards.

Gather Information

Students begin the active research phase by gathering data on real-world versions of the invention they are focused on, building equity in content knowledge while connecting social studies and history.


Students continue researching by building a guided prototype – a basic working model from everyday materials – that provides them the space to hone maker skills and collect more data.


As the final step before origination, students tinker and make changes to their basic prototype in order to better understand the scientific underpinnings of how it works!


With access to a new set of open-ended building supplies, students plan and sketch their design and “shop” for the items they’ll use to execute it.

Build & Test

Let’s get building! Students are supported through the process of turning their sketches into 3D models, testing and collecting data along the way.


Based on learnings from testing and feedback from classmates, students make adjustments to improve upon their initial designs.

Share & Reflect

Featuring standards-aligned ELA worksheets and assessments, students reflect before presenting their designs to their class or as part of a parent showcase.

Our Origination Phase

The League dedicates an entire lesson to each step of the creative process. This arc allows students to fully engage with and deeply understand each step’s purpose and how it fits into a larger framework.