Getting Creative with Design Sprints

Once you give students a taste for design thinking, they clamor for more. Many students who enjoyed their design thinking work last year in Mrs. Berry's class are in the Pfautz/Regan cohort this year, and were asking for projects.

So, this year, students have been engaging in design sprints. They recently engaged in two projects that called upon their empathetic thinking skills. The students also employed our Benchmark-specific design thinking language that we developed as a whole school last year.

Benchmark School's design thinking model. 

In their first project, students set out to create the ideal cookie for a classmate. They interviewed their classmate about preferences, sketched a prototype, and then "baked" the cookie. This being a COVID year, the students couldn't actually hand their classmate a cookie, so the cookies were created from play-doh, and their cookies' special attributes were described and shared in a FlipGrid video.

One student discussed their "cookie" with the other.

In their second project, students had to design the ideal vehicle for certain characters, based on "wondering and connecting" what they know about those characters. In this case, students considered vehicle design for characters from Harry Potter and Star Wars. They carefully considered these characters' needs, made several sketches, and then prototyped. After prototyping, they completed the "reflect and revise" stage by presenting and explaining their prototype with another student, asking "What do you like?" and "What would you add or change?" 

A green produce box is the basis for the design thinking vehicle for a character

What would Hagrid drive?

As the modifications required during COVID times spurred even more creative thinking, it was clear to the students and teachers alike that the design thinking process is durable and applicable regardless of circumstances. 

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About Benchmark School

Benchmark School, located at 2107 N. Providence Road, Media, Pa., is an independent, not-for-profit day school serving students in grades 1-8. Founded in 1970, the school is committed to helping bright students who have yet to reach their academic potential become confident and strategic thinkers, learners, and problem solvers who meet with success in school and life. For more information about Benchmark School, please call 610-565-3741 or visit BenchmarkSchool.org.