ABOVE PHOTO: King Dynasty team members working on a DT Philly activity.
With an eye toward giving students the skills to understand and address complex problems, teachers at 16 schools are launching student-led projects to design creative solutions to a school or community need.
These projects are part of Design Thinking Philadelphia (DT Philly), a city-wide program founded by former Phillies centerfielder Garry Maddox and his charity, Compete 360. Design thinking is an approach to problem solving that promotes collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication, and it is practiced by leading universities and cutting-edge companies. Compete 360 fosters a design thinking (DT) practice in city schools by training teachers, facilitating student-led projects, and hosting the DT Philly Challenge, where students present their work to a panel of design professionals from business and academia.
This year’s DT Philly teams are led by motivated teachers and supported by design and engineering professionals serving as volunteer mentors. The high school division includes teams from Murrell Dobbins High School, Thomas A. Edison High School, Kensington CAPA, Kensington Business High School, the Promise Academy at Martin Luther King High School, Abraham Lincoln High School, Mastbaum AVT High School, Motivation High School, Penn Treaty, and Strawberry Mansion High School. Participating in the middle school division are teams from Chester A. Arthur School, William C. Longstreth School, Shawmont School, Southwark School, Tilden Middle School, and Grover Washington, Jr. Middle School. Compete 360 also will pilot a 3rd-5th grade version of the program later this year.
The high school design teams will spend five months exploring the needs they identify and potential solutions to those needs before presenting their projects to one another and to the judges at the DT Philly Challenge on February 29. The middle school program will conclude a month earlier with presentations on January 29. To learn more about DT Philly or to follow the progress of this year’s teams, visit www.compete360.org.
Compete 360 is a 501(c)3 organization that has been providing academic and enrichment programming for city schools since 2001. Compete 360’s priority is to work with under-resourced public schools, helping teachers bring new ideas and practices to their work, and helping students engage in hands-on, inquiry-driven learning.