To meet this need, we (Social Studies teachers Maggie Favretti, Jen Maxwell, Fallon Plunkett and I) designed a course, City 2.0, which culminates in a semester long challenge which the students choose and solve using Design Thinking. The course fits into the NY State requirement for Social Studies Public Policy. We knew that the culminating experience would be the self-selected challenge and we worked backwards from there. We asked ourselves what students would need in order to succeed with this challenge. They needed a lot of skills and habits of mind in order to be successful: resilience; the ability to ask questions and to seek help from appropriate sources, to name just a few. They needed to be able to work effectively with a team-in other words they had to able to lead, listen and collaborate-truly collaborate, not just divvy up the work. They also needed to know about the city. They needed to really study it: to break it apart and understand the complexities of its parts.
|The Brooklyn Bridge area tile.|
|The ground level of one tile.|
Students have said thus far that the course is exciting, different and hard. Not hard in that there is too much work or that it is difficult to comprehend, but hard in that you can't "fake it." Our students are so used to doing school, that they complete traditional assignments without truly understanding or embracing them. They go through the motions, knowing that if they do what a teacher wants, they will get a good grade. But they haven't learned anything and they haven't truly owned it. This course has challenged students in a new way. Most love it. A few don't-because they can't fake it.
|Battery Park street level.|
Let us know what you come up with and reach out if you need help! And check out ways to design these types of experiences here http://www.edutopia.org/blog/capture-learning-crafting-maker-mindset-lisa-yokana?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=blog-crafting-maker-mindset