Build an App





Name of Activity

Build an App


Tim Hellickson + Emily Taintor


app, build, engineering design process, service learning, grade 4, grade 5, grade 6, grade 4-6, two hours, design, wireframe, presentation, client, solution



Grade Level

4, 5, 6


2 Hours Total

Brief Description

Students will build an app that is designed to solve a problem in their community (classroom, school at large, etc.). Students will come up with a concept, then build a home screen and at least four wireframes, which they will present to the class.

Lesson Objectives:

– Learn about the Engineering Design Process.

– Start thinking about Service Learning.

– Introduce linear thinking, working through a process.

– Introduce computer engineering/computer science (Types of Engineering Unit).

Materials Needed:

– Paper

– Pens

– Pencils

– Markers

– Rulers

– Attached worksheets (2 or 3 sets of worksheets per group)

Preparation and Set Up:

Introduce the concepts of service learning, go through Engineering Design Process, introduce the challenge and explain the restraints.

Necessary Background

Engineering Design Process

Service Learning


  1. Introduce the Engineering Design Process
  2. Go through engineering design process diagram (SIMPLISTICALLY)
  3. Emphasize the benefits of failure and the importance of redesign
  4. Introduce the terms client and solution – emphasize the difference betweeen a cool new product and a solution

  • Client: the customer or patron, the population who has the problem and who will benefit from the solution
  • Solution: a device, product, or service that solves an identified problem

5. Have students design at least four wireframes for their app with descriptions of the functionality for each frame. 6. Have students finalize their frames and design them (color theme, logo, etc.) however they want. 7. Present to the rest of the class.


– STOMPers can mock up the students’ apps in PowerPoint in between classroom sessions and simulate the functionality using action buttons so that the apps can be tested and evaluated.

Reference 1

Reference 2

Reference 3

Reference 4

Updated Worksheet 1

Reference 5

Updated Worksheet 2

Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable)

Engineering Design

1 comment on this post.
  1. Eva P. Philips:

    We did this activity for a St. Joseph’s 6th grade classroom. We did it over two days and used it as a basis to introduce the engineering design process. It was overall very successful. Some kids had more difficulty at the beginning because the project was so open ended.

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