SFCSxDesign is a two week "mini-mester" course for middle school students that equips them to apply the design thinking process to a variety of authentic challenges at the international, national, and local levels. All middle school students are placed on multi-grade level teams and learn to effectively work together through numerous challenge-based activities. Operating as teams, students examine school-wide issues through interviewing others then designing solutions to meet their needs, from redesigning classroom furniture to creating an entire "perfect classroom" for elementary students. Practicing the design thinking process in meaningful, relatable ways, prepares students for addressing larger, more complex challenges such as homelessness or access to clean water. By partnering with numerous community agencies, students learn from experts in various fields related to these larger challenges. With this knowledge, student teams then select the specific issue for which they will design solutions, conduct research, create prototypes, then give a formal presentation of their idea or product. Beyond this crash course, various aspects of the design thinking process are integrated into classroom instruction across the upper school and even includes high school students using the process to make improvements to existing outdoor gear for cooperating companies.
Posted on January 28, 2014. Modified on January 29, 2014