Do You Have a Fear or Phobia?

6th graders in Ms. McGlasson's class brought their Language Arts curricular theme of "Fears and Phobias" to life through a design challenge in October. Rather than simply reading about people's fears and phobias, students used the design thinking process to address staff phobias. Partners developed empathy questions and interviewed a teacher to find out about their personal stories relating to a particular fear. Students discovered teachers with arachnophobia, acrophobia, glossophobia, trypanophobia, astraphobia, and more. Then, research about the phobia and human psychology led to the ideate phase of the project. Student teams developed a prototype to alleviate some of the fear their user experiences. While in the development stages, partners tested their prototype and gathered feedback in order to reiterate and come up with a final plan or product for their teacher. "I am afraid of spiders and the students came up with a three step plan for me, which was presented in a Google slide show. First, I have a book of spider pictures. The beginning of the book has non-poisonous, small spiders and by the end the pictures include my greatest fear--a black widow. Once I get used to the pictures, they suggest holding a toy spider in my hand. Finally, they would like me to visit the Butterfly Pavilion to hold the tarantula," explained a Timberline teacher, "I offered feedback that steps one and two seemed like something I could easily do but I may need an additional step between holding the toy and holding the real thing." Hopefully, all staff at Timberline feel some relief from their phobias, thanks to their students.