Fifth and sixth grade students at Del Mar Hills academy were challenged to consider how they could use their own personal strengths, passions and scientific understanding of the human impacts on the earth’s systems to add value to the world, to be a “positive changemaker.” Students came in with prior knowledge of the earth’s spheres: biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere. The 6th graders also had knowledge of the ocean plastics issue from the prior year. Teachers, along with Design Engineer Paula Intravaia, launched the unit and over the weeks leading up to the exhibition they:
-Developed empathy and curiosity through a physically immersive “Global Climate” simulation game
-Defined specific human impacts on earth through research, current events, industry experts and thinking routines
-Identified & shared their own personal strengths, interests, values
-Gained inspiration from the efforts of others (Hip Hop activists, a Forest Experience composer, PSA animation w/poetry, art, film) who use personal passions/interests to add value to the world
Thank you to Karen Billings of the Del Mar Times for an in-depth article about the challenge, and for highlighting student prototypes shared at their Exhibition of Learning. Please read the article for more details!
By: Holly Morey, Torrey Hills Teacher
This blog post is a follow up to the Design Thinking challenge that Torrey Hills students completed in December. Original Blog Post: Torrey Hills Students Get Real-Life Insight as They Design Tiny Houses
Of course, we wanted to share our Tiny Homes Design Thinking project with our community! We had no idea the opportunity to empower our students to be advocates for change in the world would be a result. We were able to bring students from exhibiting their work to making conclusions about how our community could benefit from their findings.
Back in April, we received an email from the Planning Department at the City of Del Mar. The Mayor, Dwight Worden, read the article from the Union Tribune about Torrey Hills Hawks 5th and 6th Graders participating in a Tiny Home Design Thinking Project. We were officially invited to present at the Del Mar City Council Meeting in May.
The students were filled with excitement to get to meet the Mayor! After submitting an application to their teachers stating why they were interested in presenting, four students were selected. 6th Grader Dylan wrote in his application, “I want to influence the decision makers of Del Mar to consider people’s housing needs to make this city better for everyone”.
Shaun McMahon informed us that the City of Del Mar is planning to build 22 houses by the year 2022. Tiny homes are among those being considered for the community. Our student experts could give insight from their research and share how tiny homes are a good fit for people with a variety of needs. Having the experience of hearing from a wide range of speakers on housing issues, such as elderly, disabled, homeless, and Veterans, gave these students perspective on who might benefit from having an affordable, manageable, sustainable Tiny Home.
Speeches were written, slideshow was ready, and the presentation began. 6th Grader Chinmayi recaps, “the central message of the students was to convince the Council that Tiny Homes are a flexible, sustainable housing option”. The City Council Members and the community were a gracious audience and the students presented their “why” behind the project beautifully. Giving students the opportunity to expand their lens on critical issues that surround urban planning and development, allowed them to experience “real world” problems that cities face and be a part of designing a solution.
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