Toymaker’s Challenge: Course 5 Final Project

Here I am at the end of an amazing journey. One year ago when I made the commitment to join Cohort 7, I had the sense that this endeavor was way beyond my capabilities but that is exactly why I knew I had to commit. If I believe and teach my students about growth mindset then I need to model that in my own life. I am so glad that I accepted the challenge.

As a result of this course I have learned to:

  • Use technology for connected and global learning
  • Use the SAMR model to redefine learning tasks and enable students to learn in ways previously inconceivable
  • Blog
  • Empower students through technology agreements
  • Use zen principles for communicating my message clearly
  • Resource and educate parents
  • Connect with a learning community

For my final project I created a unit called “Toymaker’s Challenge” to teach a design thinking framework to my students and give them an opportunity to share their designs with the world.

My three main goals for this project were:

  1. Teach design thinking (purpose, process) to elementary students
  2. Collaborate with other teachers in our 3-5 team
  3. Collaborate with other classes outside of our school

Here is my final video:

If you are a part of Cohort 7, I would appreciate your feedback here

I learned many things but one thing I want to highlight is that it is totally worth taking the time to explicitly teach design thinking to elementary students. I learned how important it is to balance the chaos of letting kids figure things out and do their own thing with structure and framework. My hope is that now my students will use this way of thinking to come up with solutions to the challenges they see around them and that they will see the value of sharing their ideas with the world
If you would like to try this design thinking challenge, I recommend that you first get a copy of the book LAUNCH by AJ Juliani and John Spencer and then connect with me on twitter (@michellehanoi) and I’ll share all my resources with you.

I would like to acknowledge and thank the following individuals who encouraged me along the way:

My husband, Mike, for encouraging me to join COETAIL and always being a great conversationalist as I processed the new information I was learning.

My partner teacher, Anne Stuart-Gunay, for being willing to pilot the unit at the beginning of the school year even though it was crazy at times. I am thankful for her enthusiasm and encouragement.

My colleague, Alexis Snider, for jumping back into COETAIL and finishing her final project with our cohort. I always had someone right next door to process with.

My principal, Kristin Kappelmann for allowing me to make adjustments to my schedule and for seeing the value in teaching design thinking to our students.

AJ Juliani and John Spencer, for their book LAUNCH.

Joy Kirr,, for sharing out my tweets with her genius hour community

If you’re interested in teaching this unit, here is the plan and resources I used: