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MYP Design

As part of the Middle Years Programme (MYP), design challenges all students to:

  • apply practical and creative thinking skills to solve design problems
  • explore the role of design in both historical and contemporary contexts
  • consider their responsibilities when making design decisions and taking action.
  • MYP design focuses a holistic design process rather than final products and solutions.

What is the significance of Design in the MYP?

MYP uses the design cycle a way to structure inquiry and analysis of problems, development of feasible solutions, the creation of solutions, and testing and evaluation the student’s solution for the design problem.

In MYP design, solutions can be models, prototypes, products or systems that students have developed and created independently.

How is Design structured in the MYP?

In grades 6-10 the programme arts disciplines offered in the MYP are:

  • Video Production & Broadcasting
  • Music Production
  • Project Lead the Way
  • STEM
  • Computer Programming

Key Concepts in Design

Key concepts promote the development of a broad curriculum. They represent big ideas that are both relevant within and across disciplines and subjects. Inquiry into key concepts can facilitate connections between and among:

  • courses within the design subject group (intra-disciplinary learning)
  • other subject groups (interdisciplinary learning).

Below are listed the key concepts to be explored across the MYP. The key concepts contributed by the study of design are communicationcommunitiesdevelopment and systems.


Global interactions



Time, place and space


Related Concepts in the Design

Related concepts promote deep learning. They are grounded in specific disciplines and are useful for exploring key concepts in greater detail. Inquiry into related concepts helps students develop more complex and sophisticated conceptual understanding. Related concepts may arise from the subject matter of a unit or the craft of a subject—its features and processes.


Adaptation involves incorporating ideas found in one product into the development of a new product.


Collaboration involves two or more people sharing expertise and experience, working together to solve a problem and realize shared goals.


Ergonomics is the application of scientific information and understanding of how humans relate to products, systems, interfaces and environments.


In design, evaluation involves the gathering and processing of data to determine an action. Evaluation involves feedback, which can be used to control, revise or modify.


Form concerns the overall shape and configuration of a product. It relates to aspects such as aesthetics, shape, colour and texture.


The function of a solution refers to what it has been designed to do and how effective it is at enabling that action to be performed.


Innovation is the successful diffusion of an invention into the marketplace.


An invention is an entirely novel product or a feature of a product that is unique.

Markets and trends

Markets can be considered as sectors and segments comprised of groups of individuals with similar needs. Trends involve short- and long-term patterns of consumer behaviour.


Perspective relates to the point of view of various stakeholders involved in solving a problem. Stakeholders can have different perspectives and can include clients, target audiences, focus groups, consumers, manufacturers and experts.


Resources relate to the supply of a commodity. In MYP design, these commodities can be classified as information, materials and equipment.


Sustainability is the capacity to endure, which can have environmental, economic and social dimensions. In MYP design, sustainability can be considered in the following ways.

  • Green and Eco-design
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Sustainable design
  • Sustainable development
  • Sustainable innovation
  • Sustainable production

Objectives for the Design

A. Inquiring and analyzing

Students are presented with a design situation, from which they identify a problem that needs to be solved. They analyse the need for a solution and conduct an inquiry into the nature of the problem.

In order to reach the aims of design, students should be able to:

  1. explain and justify the need for a solution to a problem for a specified client/target audience
  2. identify and prioritize the primary and secondary research needed to develop a solution to the problem
  3. analyse a range of existing products that inspire a solution to the problem
  4. develop a detailed design brief which summarizes the analysis of relevant research.

B. Developing ideas

Students write a detailed specification, which drives the development of a solution. They present the solution.

In order to reach the aims of design, students should be able to:

  1. develop a design specification which clearly states the success criteria for the design of a solution
  2. develop a range of feasible design ideas which can be correctly interpreted by others
  3. present the final chosen design and justify its selection
  4. develop accurate and detailed planning drawings/diagrams and outline the requirements for the creation of the chosen solution.


C. Creating the solution

Students plan the creation of the chosen solution and follow the plan to create a prototype sufficient for testing and evaluation.

In order to reach the aims of design, students should be able to:

  1. construct a logical plan, which describes the efficient use of time and resources, sufficient for peers to be able to follow to create the solution
  2. demonstrate excellent technical skills when making the solution
  3. follow the plan to create the solution, which functions as intended
  4. fully justify changes made to the chosen design and plan when making the solution
  5. present the solution as a whole, either:
    1. in electronic form, or
    2. through photographs of the solution from different angles, showing details.

D. Evaluating

Students design tests to evaluate the solution, carry out those tests and objectively evaluate its success. Students identify areas where the solution could be improved and explain how their solution will impact on the client or target audience.

In order to reach the aims of design, students should be able to:

  1. design detailed and relevant testing methods, which generate data, to measure the success of the solution
  2. critically evaluate the success of the solution against the design specification
  3. explain how the solution could be improved
  4. explain the impact of the solution on the client/target audience.

Information on these pages is from the MYP Subject Guides and the MYP Project Guide. International Baccalaureate Organization. 2014. Print.