3rd Grade Tackles Tangled Problem for 1st grade


It all started when...

one of our 1st grade teachers mentioned the "iPad mess" in her classroom.  "The iPads don't really fit in our solution (a letter stacker turned on its side) and we have more iPads than slots.  AND we often have 14 or 15 iPads in the classroom but only room to charge 10.  It's a mess!"

When the 3rd graders stepped up to the challenge, we were so excited to host their solution-finding design challenge in the IDEA Lab.  With Theresa's expert leadership, the 3rd Grade is in the process of solving a real world problem using the design process.

Day 1: Define the Problem

Before they started, students reviewed the Design Process they they have been using.  This is a kid-friendly version of the Stanford d-School Design Process that starts with "Ask" -- understand the problem.  Then "Brainstorm" . (We'll get to that in a minute.)
As part of the Ask process, the students investigated the problem in the 1st grade classroom by carefully reviewing all of the pictures, listening to the stories, and hearing the concerns from the 1st grade classroom.  


Once they had an understanding of the issues, they were read to talk about the next step.  Students reviewed and agreed on some "guidelines" for brainstorming.  It was important to the class that everyone is heard and all ideas are honored.



Day 2: Prepare to interview the Expert

As luck would have it, we have access to a technology expert from the Solana Beach School District (Theresa's husband).  The 3rd graders brainstormed awesome questions to ask their expert to get the low-down and the skinny on the "how-to" of iPad storage.

Day 2 also involved some real-world "you are the iPad" role-play for students.  "There are more of you than there is space for you to be.  What do you do now?"  So cute!


DAY 3: interview the expert

I'm sorry to not have some video to include. It was wonderful watching the 3rd graders interview Mr. Henk with their questions and some very astute follow-up questions.  


All of the students were responsible for taking notes in response to their own question, as well as responses to the questions of their classmates.


PLAN - The next step

Then there was time for some hands-on solution drafting.  Yellow stickies allow us to move our ideas around easily to connect with like-ideas.

The whiteboard gives us a place to change our mind.

Everyone agreed on some common user needs.

Everyone agreed on some common user needs.

Days 4 & 5:  Prototype in Cardboard


Theresa and I want to create a realistic prototyping experience for 3rd grade so we agreed on cardboard prototyping "kits".  That means that we do all of the cardboard cut-out work and give them a box of pieces to put together to create iPads, chargers and charger stations. 

Here is one team's cardboard prototype!

Here is one team's cardboard prototype!

From the prototyping kits, they designed their own ideal iPad charging stations.

Here are some students using a battery-powered dremel tool in designing their lazy-susan style iPad charging station.