I'm considering teaching an after hours elective to some high school students next year. The class would focus on learning critical design, and learning to use solidworks. The students are motivated and keen to learn.
I want the class to take the form of a design project, so the students can get a taste of what real design teams do (research, ideation, illities, spider charts, etc.). I also want to teach them the basics of solidworks, but I'm not sure (yet) if that part will work out.
I'm looking for ideas of products that would be useful for disaster relief or for the developing world more generally (i.e. water purification unit, shelter kit, etc). I'd like to focus on one of these areas because such a product could have real world applications and improve the lives of people, and because it would add a lot of constraints to the design - the product would need to be robust, simple and easy to repair.
Has anyone worked in that field? What are the glaring needs? I'd be particularly interested in something that would help children, and also in something that would hold the attention of teenagers.... something challenging but interesting.
Any ideas would be welcome. And I promise that my students won't try to get you to do their homework for them!