Mr. Hadd's Solving Problems With Design Thinking class has been learning about democracy, citizenship and the electoral process in America. Through a series of initial learning activities the group is preparing to identify and solve an authentic problem involving election 2016. The starting point was creating a "need to know list" which the class has revisited often to to reflect on our learning and gauge readiness to take on the problem solving challenge. Students identified the required learning items which include the electoral college procedures, voting rights, political parties, money in politics, and voter fraud. Class activities have ranged from readings and discussion to an iCivics game called "Win the Whitehouse" to creating a timeline of voting rights in America.
The class was designed using the project-based learning (PBL) methodology of the Buck Institute for Education (BIE). Last June middle school teachers attended a three day training to learn how to design PBL units and Mr. Hadd's course is one of many PBL units that were designed at that time.
The course also incorporates the United Nations Sustainability Goals by exploring democratic governance and citizen participation. According to the United Nations citizen participation is at the core of the 17 goals set in 2015. The Innovation Lab will be connecting to these goals in our own work with students as well as in our support of PBL units in the middle school. Addressing real world problems is an essential element of PBL and many of the middle school projects connect to the sustainable development goals.
Once our election 2016 problem is launched this week, students will begin working as a team using the design thinking process. Design thinking is similar to the engineering design process, but can be applied in much more diverse situations such as those involving the humanities and social sciences.
Check back for future blog posts as this project progresses. Also visit the class page for more information.
"People who don't vote are actually voting for whoever wins the election." - 7th Grade Student