Biggest Design Challenge Ever!

Community is big at Rocky Mountain elementary. In fact, community is so important to our students that they decided to make a design challenge based on community needs. 

The setup: Students created questionnaires so they could ask probing questions to community members from around Rocky Mountain Elementary. Students interviewed librarians, computer teachers, parents, and teachers. Students discovered problems in many areas of the school. The playground, lunch room, hallways, computer lab, parent involvement, and individual classrooms all had some kind of issue that the students wanted to tackle.

Why is this the biggest design challenge ever? All 63 students worked on this design challenge at the same time! Picture a classroom filled to the brink with eager minds waiting to express their creative knowledge by solving an authentic task. Such was the mood of Mrs Jaworski's classroom. All of the students in third grade came together to help solve these issues. In each corner of the classroom, whiteboards were placed with an area of the community. Students came together and read through the interview questions they had asked their respective community member. Together, they all defined a problem on which to focus. Of these problems were issues such as students are too loud in the lunch room, students break the headphones, students don't have people to play with on the playground, etc.

After the students ideated, it came time to prototype. Oh yes! 63 students prototyping at the same time. Of course, there were many teachers and helpers in the classroom thanks to the 'I Have a Dream Foundation' who provided over five helpers. Students came up with a prototype, a shopping list, and job responsibilities in their groups. When these items where approved, they went to the STEM lab and went shopping. Back in the classroom, students were building their ideas.

Upon completion, students presented their prototypes to the commuity members for which they were designing. This coming spring there will be a parent night where they get to come into our school and have dinner, receive massages, and talk with their teachers to improve parent teacher communication. Students had a blast working on something that would actually improve our school community.