Frontier Solutions Sought Through Design Thinking

May 18, 2016 | Have Fun, Impact, Innovation, Inquiry, Lower School News, Maker, Uncategorized

IMG_3713As more and more students use the Frontier on a regular basis, additional thoughts and ideas have come to light surrounding its design and practical use.

Recently, our eldest students in the Lower School paired up with students in Prekindergarten to learn how they play and learn differently on the Frontier. Exercising their Design Thinking skills, the fourth graders determined they, along with their Preschool partners, could come up with solutions for several challenges they identified in the outdoor learning space, related to: safety, water conservation, landscape planning, material organization, and gardening.

Broken into groups of 5-6 students with shared interests, fourth graders proceeded to interview, explore, research and prototype potential solutions. Through this Design Thinking process, they formulated plans, devised resource lists, created budgets, planned fundraisers, and asked potential partners to share their expertise. Each group then created a professional digital presentation to be shared in front of a powerhouse panel of administrators: Dr. Jacobsen, Bo Adams, Shelley Clifford, Nicole Martin, Jim Tiffin, Kelly Kelly and Meg Cureton.

IMG_3781The panelists were asked to evaluate each presentation and share their feedback using a Design Matrix.

Student comments during their presentations:

  • “We had budget constraints.”
  • “It’s important to keep everything natural, because that’s how it was intended to be.”
  • “We have to be resourceful and really careful with our money because that’s how it is in the real world.” 
  • “I think color coding is a great idea.”
  • “We wanted to ask Mr. Tiffin to help us build a few things and of course we have to ask Dr. Jacobsen if that’s ok, because he owns the Frontier.”
  • “It was fun to come up with creative ways to raise money, including getting contributions from our community.”

Fourth grade teacher Alix Rhett reflects on the experience, “The students’ understanding is that their presentations could lead to implementation of some or all of their solutions and that excites them.”

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