In Design Challenges, Lower schoolers collaborate, brainstorm and create
Throughout the school year, students in Kindergarten through fifth grade collaborated in mixed-aged groups to tackle a series of Design Thinking Challenges. From building a bridge designed to withstand the weight of objects with tape and popsicle sticks to out-of-the-box ideas for personal desks to inventing a new sport from string, paper cups and cardboard, the challenges provide a safe space for students in small, mixed-age groups to brainstorm, plan, and collaborate to create an end product that satisfies the challenges.
Each group (mixed groups of K-2 and 3-5 students) is given the same amount of time and receives the same building materials, but that is where the similarities end. "The members in each group have the freedom to be as creative as they'd like, and to utilize the strategies and methods that work best for them. Not only are students practicing how to successfully work with others, they are also developing perseverance by learning from mistakes and making adjustments to original plans as needed," said third grade teacher Colleen Bode.
On May 2nd, the Lower School took part in the Global Day of Design, a day established in 2016 by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani, the authors of LAUNCH: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring out the Maker in Every Student. On this day, students in schools around the world specifically set aside time during the school day to make and create. "Our challenge was to develop an original sport using specific materials (cardboard, tape, string, 4 cups) and was guided by three questions: What are the rules? How do you win? It is a team sport or an individual sport?" explained Bode.
Students first spent time drafting and brainstorming their game and its' rules, and then used their plans to bring it to life. Sophia, a third grade student shared, "We got to collaborate and work with each other and put our ideas together. The ending result was a really cool game people got to play."
"They loved creating their own games, and were excited to present their games to each other," shared Bode. "They are now the most popular indoor recess activity!"