Virtual School: Exploration and Design Thinking

During virtual learning, we felt that it is as important as ever to engage and challenge our students so that they feel the same level of excitement to join online classes as when they are at live school.

Although many of our students were at home, we still wanted to focus on our environment as the “third teacher”.

Each Design Exploration class, the Kindergarten 1 and Kindergarten 2 students were exposed to details in nature that we often do not consider, such as sounds, textures, and

smells. We did not limit the students to just photos and videos but encouraged them to go outside and use our theme of the lesson to explore.

In the first week, we analyzed sounds that occur in nature, such as the sound of a stream running, the wind blowing through the trees, and rain falling.

We then used the outside of our homes to find “instruments” in nature, such as leaves, rocks, water, and anything the students found that could make a sound.

Trees Are Family!

In the second week, we observed characteristics of trees: how they looked, felt, and smelled. Students then found a tree that inspired them and drew it with the goal of examining relationships between the trees and ourselves and considering how we interact with trees.

In the third week of exploration, the students engaged with lights and shadow play, noticing how shadows can change depending on how the light is shone upon an object.

Then students made their own “shadow scenes.”

In Digital Literacy or Design Thinking, the students in grades Kindergarten 1 and up were given challenges which required them to think of “out-of-the-box” solutions.

Each class was provided different kinds of problems, as well as limitations which they had to work with.

Such as building a flower that could stand up by itself using only clay and popsicle sticks with K1, building an obstacle course using recycled materials, and everyday household objects with K2, or building a bridge using only marshmallows and spaghetti with Grade 1.

All our D-PREP students took on these challenges with tenacity and enthusiasm. Some of us faced unexpected obstacles but came up with innovative ideas to solve them. It was amazing to observe the experimental minds of our students blossoming!

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