Hillbrook’s 5th grade, the class of 2019, has embarked on this year’s spring hard problem, a semester long deep project in science that addresses rigorous research practices, as well as a challenging engineering and design prompt.
Much hype has been made about incorporating Design or Design Thinking into education, but what is design and why is it “suddenly” a valued 21st century concept in education? Anyone who has taken a Design Thinking workshop knows that little is gained from a one hour design cycle, especially those based on product development that may or may not be a sustainable use of resources. On the other hand, understanding the actual process of design through first hand practice requires time, a lot of time. Years in some cases. That being the case, are schools that are pushing design into their programs allowing students to know more than the terms of design (brainstorm, iterate and empathy) or are they truly teaching the value, and intricacy of the design process? Inspired by Paulo Blikstein’s contribution to Agency by Design’s Makeology book (in press), I am focusing this blog on the importance of “fostering a culture of deep projects” as it relates to the design work that I do in science with my 5th graders.