Video Game Design
As part of the critical thinking and creativity 7th grade trimester course, Outside the Box, students learned and then applied the Design Thinking process to develop a storyboard for a video game. The students were split into single sex groups and were challenged to develop a game that is interesting to opposite sex. The girls in the class served as the focus group for developing ideas and getting feedback for the boys’ three-person Game Development Teams; the boys played the same role for the girls. An additional benefit of this project design was the unearthing and exploration of gender stereotypes that likely occurs when designing for the opposite sex. Emphasis was placed upon the cycle of gathering information, ideating, piloting and then gathering feedback from classmates and reworking the ideas. The students became comfortable with failing furiously and learning from it! At the end of the project, each girl or boy chose to “buy” one of the games developed and explained why s/he chose that particular one.
Bringing History to Life
Students were given the unusual opportunity to relive history in their middle school Design Thinking class in Burlingame, CA. By challenging students to recreate historical events using tools such as models and simulations, the teacher was able to frame history lessons in ways students could relate to and better understand. Historical events and ideas, like the Apollo 11 mission or a barter-based renaissance market, were brought to life through student led projects. Students who had shown apathy in other classes became visibly engaged and worked well in teams; this led to a dramatic improvement in the quality of their work.