The Design Lab is the center for design challenges at GHS; where students maximize their creative and analytical thinking as they engage in each specifically prepared challenge. This 21st century classroom has writable surfaces on tables and walls and dynamic furnishings. Movement and collaboration are encouraged to expand opportunities for creativity. Located next to the Innovation Lab, students from all grades participate in Design Challenges throughout the year.
An idea conceived at Stanford University, design thinking "is a platform for creative problem solving and an authentic way to engage students in applying content knowledge and skills to rigorous and relevant issues” (Fouche and Crowley, "Kidding Around with Design Thinking", Educational Leadership, Oct. 2017, p.65). Design thinking is not only practiced in schools and universities across the country but is practiced globally in software design companies, pharmaceutical companies, and even sports franchises to establish a culture within their organizations and make decisions that best serve their users.
The GHS model of design thinking follows the model of the Mt. Vernon Institute for Innovation and has four phases:
- In the discovery phase, students research and discuss topics, and possibly interview users to identify a problem.
- In the empathy phase, students identify the user and get to know that user's needs as best as possible and come up with a possible solution.
- Students then move to the experiment phase where they will create a tangible prototype to represent their solution.
- Then students produce/present (the fourth phase) the prototype to their user and classmates for feedback.
At GHS, we have found that there are multiple benefits for students in practicing design thinking; including making interdisciplinary learning more meaningful through this process as students learn to be independent problem-solvers.
Mr. Kyle Mirena, STEM Coach firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Aimee Castellana, Literacy Coach email@example.com
THE FOUR STEPS OF A DESIGN CHALLENGE