last two years, this core of inquiry and design has been tested in a variety
of settings at the schools. Examples include:
A high school course in “Local problems, local solutions” as part
of the design requirement for IB. Students investigating local
challenges and using design learning to come up with innovative
solutions. Topics included a website providing data on
homelessness in Wyoming and prototype “charging desks” to
solve tangles of wires in class.
Community impact projects for our Americorps program began
to use design learning concepts to understand the needs of the
local non-profit organizations with whom they work. Recent
projects included developing educational programs for the
regional recycling center and creating back-packs for local
students to check out to help them engage in the natural world.
Middle school students looked at challenges in the school and
designed solutions. These were then voted on by the school
administration to determine which would receive funding.
During consulting work with other schools, participants were
challenged to create innovative curriculum models to connect
classrooms to place through inquiry and design. Culminating
projects included building an outdoor classroom and collecting
personal hygiene products for needy families. Each project was
grounded in a significant inquiry into the challenge and the rapid
prototyping necessary for innovation. Preliminary data collection
from students indicated increased engagement, learning, and
interest in making a difference during the project as compared to
other curriculum units.
Design Thinking began to infiltrate some of the wicked problems
in staff meetings such as scheduling and staffing.
Graduate students were introduced to Design Thinking through
the traditional “wallet” project created by the d.school. They
then used this approach to solve the challenge of introducing
Design Thinking into our week-long field education programs.
TSS hosted Wyoming's first Maker Faire to bring the design
thinking culture to the region.