I've had a chance to think about this a little more and, reflecting on how this lesson went and thinking of future lessons, here are some more formalized thoughts.
I think I wish there was a lesson before this one that whose purpose/outcome was solely for students to practice identifying user groups (or, after talking this out with a few folks, I think I prefer the term identifying communities) without being too general or too specific. When I taught this lesson, I found that my students could only think in terms of overly broad communities that didn't help narrow down the focus for designing their product, or they wanted to create microscopic user profiles similar to the user stories they saw in Lesson 4.2. If identifying communities exist on a spectrum - from overly general to hyper specific - my students haven't been shown strategies to identify communities in the middle that make good targets for apps and products. I also felt underprepared to provide strategies to help focus their efforts during this lesson because identifying communities is only part of the lesson - eventually we wanted to get to the design part of the lesson, so it was hard for me to focus on productive questions or feedback when I knew we needed to move on in the lesson.
An idea I had was to have a mad-lib-esque activity where students identify an age range, a location, a relationship to society (I'll explain this in a sec), a mode of travel, and an interest or hobby. Then they use those to fill in these blanks: "I want to design a product for (age range) people who live in (location) who (relationship), use a (travel mode), and are interested in (interest)". I imagine this could create sentences like:
"older people who live in the mountains who own a dog, travel by walking, and are interested in astronomy" - or:
"young people who live by the ocean who have older siblings, travel by longboard, and are interested in going to concerts" - or:
"adults who live in the desert who own a dog, own a truck, and are interested in hiking"
Yah - I think I like that sentence stem. Sentence stem problem = solved. We could even build this sentence piece by piece, eventually adding a restriction (like "has allergies" or "wears glasses") or something else that might need to be considered for the design.
I think I'll try this in my next lesson and see how it goes. My hope is being aware of this type of sentence structure will help students be able to better identify important information from the interviews they'll conduct in Lesson 7.