Here at Canopy Life, we have a class called Design Thinking. Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation. For our students, Design Thinking class involves oodles of hands-on experiences and focuses on . . .

  • learning to think like designers in order to meet the needs of others.
  • developing the ability to solve problems in more efficient ways than they have been addressed in the past.
  • coming up with an idea no one has thought of before.

The students’ latest project involves the kids solving one of their own projects. We read the book The Most Magnificent Thing, then talked about how design takes perseverance and imagination.  When designers are creating something that has never been created before, sometimes they can become frustrated and want to quit. But to have perseverance means to keep going!  The kids discovered they wanted to create machines to bring water to communities without rain. By the end, there was even a machine to keep the flies away, and another to wash shoes and socks!

The week before, Canopy kids learned what it means to have empathy for those around us. To empathize means to feel with people. We did an exercise to practice having empathy with a story book character. Enter Katy No-Pocket. Katy is a kangaroo with a problem: She has no pouch to carry her joey. The kids were asked how they thought Katy felt, and why. Naturally, the students said, “Sad because she can’t be with her baby.” We talked about being sad when we can’t be around the people we love. We then watched videos to learn more about the ways kangaroos move and how they care for their young. The kids had a blast solving Katy’s problem by designing a pouch for her.  Their prototype for the design used cotton (to keep the baby warm), construction paper, and string!

Katy No-Pocket


The picture below was taken as Grace, James, and Samuel were brainstorming ways to make their jewelry holder tall enough to hold necklaces. As you can see, their concentration can get a bit intense when they’re on the hunt for a solution.


When it comes to Design Thinking, two heads are definitely better than one! Janet and Ruth come from two different tribes, but have already established a strong friendship this school year. It’s awesome to see them work together on problems!


Future scientists? Inventors? Doctors? Engineers? Look at these intense faces! Canopy kids are serious about their Design Thinking class.


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