See previous scholarship winners and their sustainability ideas


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  1. Identify Problem
  2. Brainstorm
  3. Design
  4. Evaluate & Redesign, Re-Evaluate and Redesign again, repeat as necessary
  5. Share Solution

Identify the Problem - Identifying the problem is often the most overlooked stage of the design process. To start off on the right foot, try to create a clear explanation of the activity you are about to engage in. Understanding the problem paves the way for solving it.

Brainstorm - Once you understand the challenge, it's time to start brainstorming. Think about solutions and come up with as many ideas as possible. Brainstorming allows you to think creatively without fear of criticism, and if you are a team it will help you collaborate and build from each other's ideas.

Design - If you brainstormed well, you will have written down every idea, no matter how wild. Now it's time to choose your best solution, and then plan how it will be made.

Some further points to think about:

  • Refine your ideas.
  • Work out proportions or measurements.
  • Decide how materials will be used.

To help refine your brainstorm ideas, think about:

  • What goals are you trying to achieve?
  • How might this idea look on paper?
  • Do you have enough time to conceptualize this design?

Evaluate and Redesign

  • Once you come up with a design, you can even try to build a prototype, test it, and redesign it to make it better. (If you do try to build a prototype, make videos of the process! These will help you and you can also upload them with your submission files.)
  • If you do not have time to try to build your own prototype, it is still helpful to go through the process of trying to identify how a prototype would be put together and the tools and materials that would be needed.

Share Solutions - When all student submissions are done, you can share what you've made with other contestants on our Facebook pages or by sending us content for the California Dream Week news pages. Some helpful things to consider and share to build enthusiasm for sustainability are:

  • What do you think is the best feature of your design? Why?
  • What were the different steps you had to do to get your project to work the way you wanted?
  • What steps of the design process helped you the most?
  • What did you learn from watching other kids?
  • What are some things everyone's designs have in common?
  • Who might use what you've designed, and how would it help them?
  • If you had more time, how could you improve your design?

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