Design Thinking as a Math Intervention?

Mrs. Aguirre has been intrigued with the Design Thinking process since she was trained in it last year. She dabbled in small challenges here and there, but this winter, she found an authentic problem with some of her students. Mrs. Aguirre, like many other teachers, noticed that her students sruggled when trying to memorize their math facts. 

So, she posed a problem to her 4th and 5th grade students. "Our third graders are beginnning to learn their multiplication facts. Can you design something that would help them learn their facts?"

Right away students chimed in with ideas of video games, simulations, and even carnival games. To help the students guide their project and make it authentic, they interviewed the third grade students for which they were designing. Through valuable insight, the 4th and 5th grade students began building and designing interactive games. Of course, before the students could build their design, they had to know their math facts. As the students built, they were memorizing their facts and quizzing each other.

After the students finished their prototypes, the 3rd grade students came to the cafeteria to test out and play the games. Laughter, giggles, and math facts could be heard throughout the cafeteria as students tried out the prototypes and learned their math facts. While the games were being played, the students received valuable feedback and had ideas of their own to improve their game.

Back to the prototyping lab went the students to make the necessary adjustments. Overall, all of the students had fun and learned their multiplication facts in all three grades.