Students at Henry Ford Academy: Elementary School showcased their problem-solving skills by holding a unique science fair called Design Thinking Challenges that inspected issues faced in everyday life.
Each class cohort, grades K-5, picked out a team of community leaders to work with and represent their project. Approximately 20 teams presented prototypes they developed that could potentially change the life of an adult, child, or pet. The teams were then paired with a “user” who helped demonstrate the prototype.
Some students, like fourth-grader Amaurion Moore, chose to work with people his class met on field trips.
“In our Design Thinking Challenge we went on a field trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Second Baptist Church,” he said. “We interviewed some people who work in those places. What they said helped us make our prototype.”
Moore and his teammates were challenged to develop a way for families to take advantage cultural resources of Detroit. They came up with an idea of a hand scanner that could tell a person about ancestors who helped Detroit.
“It can help you learn your heritage,” Moore said.
Principal Curtis Lewis said projects like the Design Thinking Challenges gives students the opportunity to use what they’ve learned to generate ideas on how to benefit the world around them.
“They feel like they are valuable members of their communities and that their opinions, thoughts and ideas matter,” Lewis said. “We see Design Thinking not as an add-on, but rather an integral process for cultivating skills like perseverance, endurance, and grit…essential skills to be successful in life.”
To learn more about the Design Thinking Challenge and see photos from the event, visit http://hfaes.hfli.org/news