Welcome to Middle School Challenge
The purpose of this design challenge is to help students develop a sense of empathy for the challenges students face in their middle school daily life experiences.
“How Might We Create a Way To Make Fifth-Grade Students’ Transition to Middle School Easier?
Activity One: Role Play: The New Kid
The purpose of this activity is to encourage students to needfind.
1. Give the students the following headlines and ask them to role play a scenario for each:
“Help-I Need a Map!”
“What Will I Wear?”
“Who Will I Eat Lunch With? Where Will I Sit?”
“Everyone is Looking At Me and I Don’t Know Anyone!”
2. Ask the class to generate several headlines. Invite students to role play.
3. Lead a class debrief on what it is like to move from elementary school to middle school.
Activity One: Emma’s Journal
The purpose of this activity is to encourage students to develop empathy for fifth-grade students.
1. Give the students the scenario below.
Emma is eleven-years-old. She is in sixth grade. She just moved to California.
Tomorrow is her first day at Bayside Middle School and she is very nervous.
Tell the students that they are going to write an entry in an imaginary journal.
EMMA’S DIARY: PRIVATE
Topic: Freaking out!!! My First Day At Bayside
2. Divide the class into small groups and ask the students to share their journal entries.
3. Ask each group to generate a Point of View Statement about a fifth-grade student’s needs. A Point of View statement is:
User + Need + Insight= Point of View Statement
This statement should follow the format below:
_____________ needs a way to _____________________
because he/she _______________________________________
Examples of a Point of View statement might include the following:
Hector needs a way to feel comfortable when he walks into the school cafeteria for the first time because he hates it when everyone stares at him because he is the new kid.
Keesha needs a way to feel like she looks the same as other kids because she doesn’t know what to wear and she doesn’t want people staring at her and thinking she looks strange.
At the end of the day’s session, each group should have a Point of View statement that they will use in the prototyping phase.
Activity One: Ideate Away!
The purpose of this activity is to encourage students to generate a large quantity of ideas.
1. Tell the students that they are going to brainstorm solutions to the design challenge based on what they have done on Day One and Day Two. Divide the class into small groups and give students post it notes. Ask them to brainstorm ideas on the design challenge: “How Might We Create a Way To Make Fifth-Grade Students Transition to Middle School Easier?”Encourage the students to generate between 25 and 50 ideas.
2. After fifteen minutes of brainstorming, tell the students that they are going to vote. Ask each group member to place one star next to the idea that they think is “The Craziest Idea”; two stars next to the idea that they think is “The Safe Choice”; and three stars next to the idea that they think is “The One Everyone Loves.” Then, as a group, ask the students to select the idea that they would like to prototype.
Activity One: Prototyping Time
The purpose of this activity is to encourage students to create prototypes to meet their users’ needs.
1. Share the Prototyping Video clip at http://www.teachersdomain.org/resources/phy03/sci/engin/design/zchair/index.html with your students.
2. Reconvene the student groups and have each group generate a prototype for the design challenge. Provide the students with a diverse array of materials to create prototypes. Remind the students that prototypes are rough and rapid and that their purpose is to represent an idea that can be tested on a user.
Activity One: Test & Iterate
The purpose of this activity is to encourage students to test their prototypes and then iterate based on the feedback from their users.
1. Tell the students that testing and feedback are important parts of the design process. Share the information about the Wii wheel with your students at the following website:
Have one student from each group rotate to another group to act as the designated tester. The testing should take no longer than five minutes. Have students modify their prototypes based on the tester feedback.
2. Ask each group to share its prototypes with the entire class. This can be done in a variety of ways. You can have students present their prototypes to the class, you may wish to use a program such as Garage Band to make a podcast with a photograph of their prototypes, or you may wish to use a program such as iPhoto or iMovie to create movies/slideshows. If possible, create a digital archive photograph collection of the class prototypes.
Credit: Maureen Carroll