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Design Thinking helps kids learn to collaborate and create

November 23, 2018

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Two Lincoln middle schools are testing a new course designed to help kids learn how to collaborate as they explore, research and create — much as they will be expected to do in the working world.

The pilot course of Design Thinking is being taught at Goodrich and Moore middle schools and is part of a larger initiative to inject innovation and science, technology, engineering, art and math education into the district curriculum.

“As we look at our students and their future, we’re looking at their ability to think critically and solve problems,” Goodrich Principal Kelly Schrad told the Lincoln Journal Star . “This was specifically designed in sixth grade to give kids a model to work through that process.”

The new course required curriculum changes that included eliminating a semester-long social studies class that’s been combined with the yearlong English language arts class at both schools.

Do the changes mean less English or social studies?

No, district officials said. The humanities classes use the same English curriculum they’ve been using for several years, but they teach some of the units in a different order so they more closely match the social studies topics, said Lisa Oltman, a curriculum specialist.

And combining the two classes is a way to teach social studies more efficiently, said Jaci Kellison, another curriculum specialist.

The skills needed to read original documents and texts in social studies are the same ones taught in English language arts. Now they’re doing it in one class.

District officials hope to expand the Design Thinking and the humanities classes to other middle schools, though they are still evaluating the offerings. Part of the evaluation will be to ensure students are learning the content required in state standards.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

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