By: Trinity School’s Atlanta K-12 Design Challenge Team
AK12DC 2016 Members: Thomas Benefield (Fifth Grade Lead Teacher), Nina Chamberlain (Art Teacher), Erin Collini (Pre-K Lead Teacher), Jill Gough (Director of Teaching and Learning), Marsha Harris (Director of Curriculum), Kevin Howard (Engineering Specialist), Becky Maas (Science Teacher), Lauren Rose (Science Teacher)
Solving Real Problems for Real People!
How do we teach our students to take risks and go after authentic, wicked problems? Innovation is KEY!
At Trinity, we are teaching our students to solve problems in our immediate community and around the world through a human-centered approach called Design Thinking.
The premise of Design Thinking is to build empathy around our target users by learning about them and their needs. Students begin to understand the art of questioning and collaborate with one another to brainstorm possible prototypes that will solve authentic problems. This aligns with our mission of inquiry-based problem solving and collaborative learning.
In 2016, we formed a team of seven teachers to participate in the Atlanta K-12 Design Challenge (AK12DC). Through this challenge, Trinity has partnered with a group of Atlanta public and private schools to find solutions to problems that are happening in education. Member teams offer feedback to one another and work as a larger community so that we begin to see impact in our work and growth in our students.
A core concept of Design Thinking is that we “Fail hard and fail fast!” Design thinking helps us iterate over and over again so that we can get closer to the solution. We know that innovation isn’t linear.
It is a journey, and it is absolutely messy! How do we allow students and teachers to be alright with this? Through hard work!
Design thinking is happening throughout Trinity’s campus. In the iHub, students are designing prototypes of playground equipment to solve problems for obesity. In the Science Lab, students are designing toys from recycled materials and creating enclosures to keep the turtles from escaping from their tank. Fourth Graders have incorporated design thinking in literacy and created a pen in the woods for Shiloh. Our Pre-K students have even used design thinking in their hunt for the Gingerbread Man! All over Trinity, students are asking questions, prototyping, ideating, trying again, and asking more questions!