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I’d like to share how I’ve been using the Design Thinking Process with my students in my school’s Innovation Week so far.
The guiding question is: How can we help our water?
Empathize: We showed a variety of real life pictures/articles/videos for students to grow closer to the issue at hand. Students initially responded to a photo of a sea animal holding garbage using a “I See/I Think/I Wonder”. We then shared a video of how other communities are helping their water to begin to encourage our students’ innovation. We ended the empathizing stage by sharing an article about how First Nations’ communities are affected by unclean water.
Define: We inter-locked our Empathizing and Defining stages by continuing to have students “define” what the issue at the centre of each of the resources we shared was.
Ideate: I gave each of the students a stack of sticky notes and set my expectations. I set the timer for 5 minutes and instructed them that they were to quickly and quietly use the 5 minutes to brainstorm as many ideas as possible. I stated that no ideas were too “crazy” or too “far-fetched” and wanted them to write down anything that came to mind. In this case, I told them I wanted quantity over quality. I would rather 20 crazy ideas than 1 realistic one. Some students really struggled with this process and some really thrived. Every minute I asked the students to write down one crazy idea. After their brainstorm I gave them the opportunity to share in small groups and then gave them another additional 2 minutes for extra brainstorm. I then had them collaborate and share again and had students start to ask their peers, “Have you considered…” upon hearing each others’ ideas.
This is where I have left off. Innovation Week starts tomorrow and thus begins the prototyping and testing. I am very excited for the week ahead!
If you have any feedback about my process – please let me know! I’m especially interested in developing my ability to lead the “Defining” stage in this process.
I love this idea! I’m wondering if you could work your Empathy piece with the Harry Potter books. Are the students currently studying them in class? It might be far-fetched but could you encourage the students to identify with the importance of potions in the Harry Potter book(s)? How potions affect the plot of the story or what could happened in the book if potions/spells didn’t work as planned. This could bring in a level of empathy that allows them to use critical thinking skills based on what they’re reading.
Thanks for sharing this awesome task!
Thanks for sharing this idea! I love it. I’m really interested in the fact that you gave the students the opportunity to create their village using limited re-purposed materials. I often find my students get wrapped up in the materials they want to use in their project and from reading through your experience I realized it may be more helpful for me to supply them with the materials and serve as a challenge for them to innovate how they can use those items.
Thank you for your response! I think technology is a great idea for my students to begin to also “Wade In” to the idea of MakerEd at a very low-risk entry level. We have had time to dabble in Code.org this year and the students have responded very positively to that opportunity. Having the chance to work with exciting technology such as a Makey Makey or LittleBits might be a great next step for them, and myself! I’ll have to inquire with my school and school board as to what I have access to…
I also wonder how I could continue to use Scratch in the classroom with more of a “Maker” approach. I have assigned the students assignments through Scratch already this year but it might be exciting to pose questions/challenges for them to discover how to accomplish in Scratch. I wonder if this would be considered a Maker exercise?
My contribution is a bit of a smaller task – but I thought it might be worth sharing. One small way I’ve been trying to infuse STEAM into my class more is when I find there is “free-time” in the classroom. For example, instead of showing movies on holidays I’ve opted to try and take these opportunities to pose “Maker Challenges” to my students to get them thinking and give them the opportunity to do something at a high level of engagement. One activity I tried with my students back on Valentine’s Day was the “Stack ‘Em Up” Challenge. Here is a document I found outlining the premise of the challenge:
I have personally done this challenge before and I have to say that my Div. 2 students were much more successful at it than I have ever been with fellow adults. If I were to introduce this task to students again I would give them the materials as is, telling them the task, and allowing them to figure out how they are going to achieve it. This task made me realize that half the fun of “Maker Challenges” is not initially knowing HOW you are going to achieve a task.
I’d like to build up a library of these short “Maker Challenges” to pose to my students as often as I can. If anyone has any additional challenges they know of – please let me know!
I was connecting with a colleague this week about potential ways I could incorporate more “Maker Challenges” into my classroom and was hoping this group could offer other suggestions for me. I’m trying to find relatively “simple” challenges for my students to take part in that will fit into a 1 hour time frame. I’ve explored ideas such as the “Tin Forest” or a “Materials Challenge” but I was wondering if anyone had other ideas? I want my students to have the opportunity to develop themselves as “Makers” in short tasks that don’t require a large amount of time or materials.
After spending some time looking through various resources on this site such as the Katrina Schwartz article I realized that I am not alone in some of my struggles and fears about MakerEd. The beginning of the article gave me a sense of relief when it noted how educators revert back to direct instruction when they are unsure if all of the outcomes are being met during maker-enhanced projects. This is probably one of my biggest fears about engaging my students in MakerEd. I am excited about the opportunity for them to take part in a highly-engaging process but fear that students will miss out on specific outcomes. The article’s focus on this idea of “rationalizing the time commitment” reminded me of the fear of the “Grecian Urn”. We want our students to enjoy the process of creating something but that time commitment needs to be worth the learning that will be taking place.
I really appreciated the principle of anticipating the skills students will need throughout the process and therefore being ready to scaffold their understanding. I realized even this does not need to be a time for “direct instruction” but can also be accomplished through small group instruction, stations, or review groups.
After reviewing the article I took away what I’ve always learned about the use of technology in the classroom. We should be using it (technology/makered) to enhance the concepts we are teaching but need to ensure we aren’t using MakerEd just for show, just “for fun” or to “glitz up” an activity. It needs to be implemented in a well-thought out manner that will lead to a high level of learning and engagement.
I am hoping to connect a Rube Goldberg inspired task to my Grade 4 Science: Simple Machines unit. Specifically focused on the Devices and Vehicles that move unit for students to have an opportunity to develop their understanding about how simple machines and different types of force can be used. As we are just beginning to delve into this unit I want to take the leap by starting the unit with a Maker Task instead of ending this unit with Making as a summative piece – which I find I am more drawn to do. I am excited to bring the empathy piece into the design process. My students will be required to document their process and reflect daily which I hope to be one way I can ensure we, as makers, continue to revisit the empathy stage of the process.
After exploring the website I feel like I am currently at the Wading In stage. I feel comfortable engaging in Maker activities by myself, and have experience in the Design Thinking Process but feel less confident teaching this concept to my students. I am excited to engage my students in this Empathy Model of thinking as they are encouraged to become Makers. My goal for this experience is to engage my students in a Rube Goldberg inspired challenge.