Online academy for students in grades 3 to 8 which integrates
inquiry, design, and place-based education in a virtual setting.
Throughout these “prototype experiences” we realized that some
projects began using the idea of “community-centered design” rather
design.” This subtle shift
connected Design Thinking
to the scientific method as
students collected data on
natural habitats such as
stream quality, wildlife
habitat, etc. Students still
used all of the strategies of
such as interviewing for
empathy, but also included
data if the problem
Just like Design Thinking itself, our prototyping of Design Thinking at TSS
has provided good learning for the future, including:
It is not about stuff. It is about a way of thinking: Too often
Design Thinking is relegated to designing expensive equipment
and technology classes. Design Thinking is a process to give
students agency to make the world a better place. It works just
as well with an initiative to alleviate hunger as it does to create
the next best technology product.
Do not force it: Organizations that embrace Design Thinking have
to make it relevant to the curriculum. Not all curriculum aligns to
support a design project. Do not force curriculum into Design
Thinking if it does not make sense - students will easily see
through the facade.
Students as solution makers: TSS sees Design Thinking as a
process to give students a concrete set of steps to create
innovative solutions. Much akin to how students learn the
Students teach soldering skills at Wyoming's first
Maker Faire hosted by Teton Science Schools.