Fourth Graders Use Design Thinking Process in This Year's Exhibition
by Terri Garvin, Lower School PYP Coordinator
The culminating unit of the Fourth Grade students’ experience in the Primary Years Program falls under the Theme, Sharing the Planet. This concept involves understanding the responsibility we share to make the world a better place.
This year the unit kicked off with Mr. David Johnstone, Lower School Director, teaching each fourth grade class the various steps in the Design Thinking Process. The children practiced using the process in a shared classroom experience before beginning to ponder how they could make the Lower School community a better place.
They were asked to reflect on learning engagements and the learning facilities that they believed were impactful in shaping their experiences at the Lower School. They were asked to think about ways things could be created to make student experiences even better.
They brainstormed, surveyed teachers, students, and staff to develop empathy and perspective on their original ideas. During the Exhibition Build Day, groups of students came together to produce a prototype to display the new ideas. Writing prompts and reflective discussions followed the creation of the prototypes to extend students’ ideas about the value of the Design Thinking Process. They were challenged to describe how they might use it in the future as they are faced with complex situations and multiple perspectives.
The results of the six week unit were an emphasis on process rather than product. The prototypes were just a minor part of the thinking, cooperation, creativity and a depth of understanding of what it takes to investigate and problem solve. This Exhibition was a chance for the students to experience the steps in a process to help make the world a better place. As they move on in their educational journey, we are confident they won’t stop pondering how to make the world a better place.