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Draw Toast is a problem-solving process developed by Tom Wujec ( that incorporates multiple steps of systems design in a creative, low-stakes activity.


The Draw Toast process involves three primary steps: (1) individual 1-page drawing, (2) individual notecard/sticky drawing, and (3) group system design. Engage students in the activity as follows:

  1. Ask each student individually (on a single sheet of paper) to draw “How to Make Toast”; set a timer for 3 minutes.
  2. Have students share in groups, then reflect as a class: what is similar? different? unique/interesting?
  3. Discuss with students the idea of systems and nodes (steps in a process), then ask students to try again with the goal of the most comprehensive yet efficient system. This time have students write on notecards instead of a single sheet of paper, each notecard representing a separate step or node.
  4. Finally, have students (in small group or as a class), share their notecards and together from the notecards design the best possible system for How to Make Toast. Tip: instruct students to perform this step SILENTLY.

After completing the activity, reflect in a discussion or individual writing about what contributes to effective system design or problem-solving. Connect this reflection to classroom tasks, big picture or specific.


Learn more about the strategy and process at

Watch the complete TED Talk from Tom Wujec here:

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