That the students get an overview of the design team’s combined knowledge and knowledge needs in relation to the selected sub-theme and the selected challenge. The gathered knowledge is used by the team to prepare their research.


Here, the design team has an opportunity to discuss objective knowledge versus subjective knowledge and what this means to their research and the way they ask questions. In their design teams, the students draw the Knowledge Map template on A2 paper (or two sheets of A3 taped together).

The teacher then starts the task by giving examples of answers to the following questions:

  1. What do we already know about our sub-theme, challenge, target group, context, etc.?
  2. What do we think we know?
  3. What do we need to know?
  4. Who should we ask, and where can we look?

After drawing the Knowledge Map, the students brainstorm individually on post-its and give a minimum of three answers per question to question 1 and 2. After this, the students present their post-its to their team members and discuss if the answers reflect something they know or something they think they know. Often, a part of the knowledge they think they have turns out to be (only) something they think they know, and therefore needs to be researched further.

Based on this mapping, the team now discusses what they need to know and formulates the questions they need answers to, i.e. what needs to be researched. Here, the students can optionally divide the questions into “Need to Know” and “Nice to Know”.

The questions are written in column 3, “What we need to know”. After this, the students brainstorm individually again on post-its about how the team will find answers, who to ask and which alternative sources they can use in their research. These post-its are placed in column 4, “Who should we ask, and where can we look?”. The filled-out Knowledge Map is then hung on the wall to be used as a basis for the teams’ Research Strategy.

Example: Flooding
What do we know about flooding?

  • That people get water in their basements.
  • That many things are destroyed.
  • That rats come out of the sewers. What do we think we know?
  • That many people get sick because of rats.
  • That it is raining a lot more now. What do we need to know?
  • How many houses are affected?
  • Which areas are affected the most?
  • What is the biggest problem for people affected by a flood?

Who should we ask, and where can we look?

  • We could ask the city/municipality.
  • We could contact a medical officer.
  • We could ask people who were affected by the flood.
  • We could find statistics online.


  • Drawing of Knowledge Map and setting up tables for group work.
  • Individual brainstorming about the first two questions.
  • The students present and discuss suggestions and answers for column 1 and 2.
  • The students discuss what they need to know and formulate questions.
  • Individual brainstorming about “who can we ask, and where should we look?”
  • The students present and discuss their post-its and place them in column 4.
  • The Knowledge Map is hung on the wall.

Execution time
2 lessons.

A2 paper, post-its and Knowledge Map template.

The students work in their design teams at their stations. Template See Knowledge Map template on page 172.