Design Thinking: In the beginning…

…it is all planning. This year no different even though my way of approaching math and science is, very much so. And well, we have made it through a first full week of school, all so exciting and energy-draining at the same time. So much to plan and teach and so many ways to do it.

Hmmm…so, where to begin? How do I turn my class of problem solvers into problem finders first? How to introduce this googleable wall? These are the burdens of over-excited and well-intentioned teachers who want to dream up such intrinsically magical ways to present knew ideas to our just as excited students. So there I was last week, up until wee hours of the morn’ trying to figure out how I would introduce this “googleable” and “nongoogleable” wall. After a few hours of sifting through articles, blogposts, and websites chock full of lessons- I gave up (for that night at least). An entire night of planning and zilch.  I started to get a little perplexed. Why was I making this introduction such a big deal? Why couldn’t I use my old school ways to introduce these new-age concepts? Sigh. Maybe this wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.  Perhaps I was complicating it because…the very next day a spontaneous teachable moment arose and just like that the wall taught itself. How, you ask? That particular day, a few students were glancing through National Geographic for Kids upon arrival.  Suddenly one little guy who happened to be reading about the solar system asked, “Ms. Cerda, how was the Earth made?” As I started to answer, I got an idea. “Just look it up on google, I replied.” He looked at me curiously, his confused look most likely stemming from my having not just rattled off an answer to him. So, he went over and looked it up. A few minutes later he came back up to me and said, “well, there are a lot of different answers so I don’t know which one it is.” I looked at him and then at the entire class shockingly and said, “wait, you mean google can’t tell us everything?” One little girl then jumped in and said “well, one time I wanted to know how people came to earth and I couldn’t find that in google either.” We all proceeded to look it up. After finding a myriad of answers one child triumphantly shouted out, (and mind you I have never alluded to or explained the chart on the wall) “MS. CERDA, IT’S LIKE YOUR WALL OVER THERE. SOME THINGS ARE NOT GOOGLEABLE!”

some things are not googleable?!


The class broke out into a frenzy, questions starting flying all over the room, discussions erupted and suddenly we were posting questions on our board and proceeding to find out if we could in fact answer them via google. My heart soared! Voilà! We were on a roll, we were PROBLEM FINDERS (yes!) when all of a sudden a particularly bright-eyed boy stood up and proclaimed  “I betcha google can’t tell me what my boogers look like under that microscope over there!” Ha, well..we may have a little ways to go but we have started our problem finding quest and enthused doesn’t even cut it, the kids are absolutely wild about it.  Guess it turns out you don’t always need fancy lessons to teach kids to be problem finders, they just are by nature.

problem finders at work!

2 Responses to “Design Thinking: In the beginning…”

  1.   Ewan McIntosh Says:

    Thanks for sharing this delightful insight to your class! It’s super, and goes to show that if you get the environment prepped, it can sometimes be enough for the teachable / learnable moments to take care of themselves.

  2.   » Design Thinking: In the beginning… UTES Educator Resources | Future of Learning 2012 | Says:

    [...] Great blog on small big miracles!  [...]

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