In addition to learning about impact of inventors and inventions on society, grade 3 students at Shekou International School became inventors themselves in a series of activities and projects centered around design thinking, collaboration and reflection.
All three grade 3 teachers, Nicki Ruthaivilavan, Frank Machinello, and Leticia Carino, attended Design Thinking workshops at the Learning 2.014 conference in October and immediately began applying the concept to their Social Studies unit on Inventors and Inventions. In preparation for students becoming design thinkers and inventors, the grade 3 teachers decided to have their students do Design Challenges (STEM) on the four Fridays leading up to the beginning of the unit. These experiences were used to discuss collaboration and problem-solving through reflection using the 6 Thinking Hats reflection method.
After studying and researching famous inventions and their inventors, grade 3 students began their own journeys as inventors using the Design Thinking Process to guide them.
One class (3A) used the City X Project’s simulation to design inventions to solve problems for the citizens of a (fictional) new colony on a far away planet. The other two classes (3B & 3C) teamed with our elementary school librarian, Gaylene Livingston, to create prototypes for a portable book drop. Additionally, students also used the Design Process at home to create an invention to address a problem for themselves or others.
The unit culminated with the grade 3 Invention Convention on January 22 where students displayed, explained and reflected on their many inventions, created both individually and in groups.
You can learn more about our grade 3 inventors and their inventions through teacher posts on their classroom blogs and many of their Tweets.
Design Thinking Resources
David Lee Ed Tech (Design Thinking Resources)
Making Things Better: Design Thinking in the Classroom (John Rinker)
City X Project
Design Thinking for Educators
Design Thinking in Schools
Design Squad (PBS)
Design Challenges (Museum of Science, Boston)