The fifth graders worked with Head of Middle School Julie Bianchi, Director of Middle School Academic Services Ethan Weiss, and Upper School SAT members on this design-thinking project that involved reflection, analysis, and creativity.
The first step of the project involved empathy. The group discussed the importance of empathy to understand their shadow guests’ needs. They worked to formulate answers to questions such as “What would our shadow guests wish to experience during their visit?” and “What can we do to improve visits for our guests?” The students then narrowed their focus, identifying the specific needs of the visitors, and how to use this information to target possible solutions.
The students then divided into small groups for the “idea phase” of the session. They quickly wrote brainstorming ideas on Post-It notes, recording as many as possible in a very limited amount of time. They reviewed all of the ideas, dividing them into “likely” and “unlikely” categories, until they narrowed their choices to one or two possibilities.
Each group had 15 minutes to build their prototype. Team members were assigned a specific job; there was a questioner, transporter, timer, and scribe. This enabled each student to understand their role and responsibility within the group. The resulting concepts displayed a wide variety of ideas, including an interactive puppet show, a diorama about hospitality, name tag lanyards with space for writing personal interests, and more. Each group presented their idea and answered questions about their designs. They refined their prototypes based on the feedback they received.
The groups presented their reworked ideas to the the Upper School SAT team and a select group of Middle School faculty members. These ideas will be implemented by the SAT teams to improve the experience of future shadow visitors on ODA’s campuses.