Empathetic Design Challenge for Elementary School Students

After taking a two day design thinking workshop at the d.school, East Palo Alto Academy Elementary School reading specialist Melissa Pelochino transformed her reading lesson on the short story X: A Fabulous Child’s Story into a design challenge. Students not only read the book, they also developed empathy for the characters by designing ways to improve their lives. Soon thereafter every book had an accompanying design challenge. Some of them involved creating reconstructions of the settings inside the classroom. One idea for the future is to recreate the cockpit of the crashed plane in the movie Hatchet, because half of her 8th graders have never been in a plane.

“Students not only read the book, they also developed empathy for the characters by designing ways to improve their lives. Soon thereafter every book had an accompanying design challenge”

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