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Dawson focuses on design thinking


September 16, 2016

Photo courtesy of Dawson School Lower school students took middle and upper school students through a day in their lives, as part of Dawson’s Mustang Days.

Dawson has launched a new feature to its schedule this year: periodic days throughout the year designed to promote collaboration and integration between grades and disciplines, called Mustang Days.

Increased flexibility built into Dawson’s schedule allows the school to spotlight larger topics and to create even more opportunities for student-driven, hands-on learning. On August 31, the focus was design thinking.

Design thinking is an established learning method that integrates creativity, problem-solving skills and empathy; students have a chance to imagine and create solutions to real-world challenges. Dawson is committed to preparing today’s young people for the world outside its doors, and design thinking and future Mustang Days play an important role.

For this Mustang Day, small, cross-divisional groups of students and teachers convened, and then lower school students took middle and upper schoolers on a tour of a day in their life. The older students interviewed their tour guides and took photos, and then each group defined a ‘problem’: A way to make Lower School life at Dawson even better.

Groups were given time for some blue sky brainstorming, after which they arrived at a solution, e.g. a process or invention. Then groups presented to each other, and Dawson captured ideas to consider for possible implementation.

So what did students come up with? There was a wide array of wonderful creativity, including a vacuum for stinging insects, a handrail for a downhill path across campus, an electronic meter to limit time on the swings and make use more fair, and a retractable step by the salad bar.


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