To kick off the school year, a mix of grade 10, 11, and 12 students were given a design challenge in the form of a question: “How can I help new people feel welcome to Colegio Roosevelt and make their transition to our secondary school better?” Students were divided into three mixed-age groups. Each group was assigned a different target audience that included new teachers, new students to the school, and new students entering middle school. Using methods of design thinking, along with the Lean Startup “Learn, Build, Measure” cycle, students had three days to design a solution. They presented their proposed solutions to an audience of parents, counselors, board members and fellow students, who judged the projects for desirability, feasibility, and viability.
Rather than begin the school year with the traditional syllabus and “rules of the class,” we wanted students to feel what the Roosevelt Innovation Academy was all about by experiencing its core principles for one week. In this design process project, students learned how to define project roles, set deadlines and understand the needs of an authentic audience, while developing empathy and a real world solution.
I learned the importance of having everyone on the “same page” during the project and how communication is much more effective in smaller groups. Also, I learned the importance of having a good prototype so that you can get good feedback on your idea.
—10th grade student
I learned that we don’t always learn by listening; it’s achieved more effectively by doing. This is because when taking action, we go more in depth and this drives motivation.
—11th grade student
We were able to overcome the distrust that held us apart by clarifying what kept us together: our passion towards learning. We learned that “group work” was most effective when we found out each other’s strengths and organized ourselves around them.
—12th grade student