Character Care Package
A middle school Spanish class teacher helped bring a reading assignment to life using Design Thinking. Students read a story about a Costa Rican teenager who was going to study abroad in Spain. While in Spain, the main character is going to receive a care package from her family. The students in the Spanish class are challenged to figure out what this care package should contain. What is important to include in the box? What are the character’s needs? The Spanish students are asked to include messages from her family and friends. They can write her letters or they can include digital voice recordings that they store on a flash drive. What will the letters or messages say?
The students ideate in groups and then make a prototype of their ideas. After receiving feedback from the rest of the class, they make revisions and create their final products to put together their character care packages.
Sharing Our Space
Students in a middle school Spanish class were challenged to create a tour of their campus for visiting or potential students using the Design Thinking process. They started the process by brainstorming: what were they proud of on their campus? What was most interesting? Then they moved on to thinking about their “user”, the visiting or potential students who would be taking the tour: What would the visiting students like to know about the school? They also thought about the feedback they would want to improve the tour: What kinds of questions should they generate to ask the visiting students when they have the opportunity to interview them in order to create an effective and relevant tour? While developing their tour prototypes, they also thought about logistics: What Spanish vocabulary would they need to know and incorporate for their part of the campus tour?
After thinking through ideas, the students designed prototypes of a tour and were able to present them, get feedback, revise their tours and then present a final version that incorporated the feedback that they had received.
In their middle school language classes, students were challenged to design a dream vacation for an imaginary customer. They were given a character profile in their target language (French or Spanish). From the profile they inferred the characters’ needs and desires to plan a perfect vacation for them. The students presented their “dream vacations” to the rest of the class who pretended to be the customers and determined which vacation package best met their needs. This project allowed for significant practice in reading comprehension and public speaking while introducing students to the design process.