Day 01 - Smarter Communications (Middle School)

What a busy and full day of learning and fun! We started with the introductions and an awesome chemistry presentation by Julie Andrew, then spent some time getting to know each other better back in our IBM classroom. We learned a lot already about our own individual communication styles.

After that, we dug into learning about innovation, the design process (empathy, defining a problem, ideating, prototyping and testing/ feedback) , and designer mindsets. We played a creative game of charades to help us solidify our understanding and remember them better. The designer mindsets are: cooperation, creativity, curiosity, persistence, risk- taking, and thinking.

Next, we jumped into our first design challenge. To magnify the importance of communication, we worked on building toothpick/marshmallow towers with limited communication. The designer and builder could only talk by using a verbal messenger. We learned that lack of communication can be very frustrating and limiting. After a great discussion, we repeated the task with full communication allowed. Our towers were MUCH better, and we learned the value of being able to share our thoughts and ideas with open communication. We were assisted by IBM employee, Bev Kurtz, who had wonderful insight to share with us.

We spent some time previewing our four big design challenges for the week:

  • Design or improve a product or service that connects people across the world.
  • Design a way to get information to people with limited access to technology.
  • Design a way to communicate with people needing help during a disaster.
  • Design a way for people with challenges to better communicate.

We discussed our personal connections and stories that help us to relate to these issues, and several of us already have ideas for innovation.

To end the day, we brainstormed all the different types of communication and the reasons we use them. We will continue this list as we go.

Notable Quotes:

  • Maddie: My favorite part was the marshmallow tower. I learned that communicating can make life so much easier and that it is hard to make marshmallow towers.
  • Clyde: The best thing was watching the science experiments. I learned about designer mindsets.
  • Ramon: The best thing was the marshmallow tower. I learned about science experiments.
  • Andres: The best thing was the dry ice experiment. I learned that there are tornadoes in Italy.
  • Jocelyn: My favorite part was designer mindset charades.  I learned the designer mindsets and design thinking norms.
  • William: The best thing was the marshmallow tower. I learned about different ways to communicate.
  • Ava: The best thing about today was the marshmallows. I learned about designer mindsets.
  • Niamaya: The best thing I did today was the design challenge. I learned that good communication can drastically change the outcome of something.