Kindergartners Learn Empathy Through the Great Gingerbread Baby Challenge

Feb 10, 2014 | Lower School News, Media Galleries, Uncategorized

Any parent of a Mount Vernon kindergartner has no doubt heard ALL the buzz lately from their child, as many of them have been asking: “How might we get the gingerbread babies to come out of hiding?”
Their questions are a part of a D.E.E.P. design thinking challenge intended to teach students problem solving skills and the importance of empathy. The journey began through ‘discovery’ as teachers introduced their classes to a variety of versions of the gingerbread man/baby story. The students also made and baked gingerbread baby cookies. Through the ’empathy’ mode, students learned through conversations with the gingerbread babies via Skype that they seek adventure through climbing, swinging in trees, yet they also desire a safe place to rest with friends who will care for them.
Last week while the students were brainstorming their ideas on ways to draw in the gingerbread babies (through the ‘experiment’ mode), they received a surprise message in the lab. The message came from one of the gingerbread babies who offered helpful clues. Click here to watch the special one minute message.
This week and next, classes will prototype their solutions by moving into the ‘produce mode’. The hope is students will gain a solid understanding in how a problem affects a person before jumping immediately to a solution.
Design Thinking Coordinator Mary Cantwell shares, “I think that our students have learned how to define and articulate a problem and this skill is invaluable. Life does not fit in a box and our students are learning in a way that provides them authentic moments to carry with them as they grow.” #DEEPdt
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