Scuola Vita Nuova students collaborate for design thinking project

Elizabeth Orosco
Managing Editor


Scuola Vita Nuova sixth-grade students had a chance to participate in a Shark Tank-style design thinking project last week.


The students have worked closely with Latinx Education Collaborative to brainstorm solutions to problems they identify at their school.


As problems were identified, the students were then guided through the design thinking process to determine solutions. 


Edgar Palacios, the founder of the Latinx Education Collaborative, said the goal is to help students understand that their voice matters and ultimately, pave a pathway for more Latino educators. 


“We are trying to give sixth-graders an opportunity to see that education is a viable career option… and give them the agency and student voice around issues in their own classrooms and give them a process for them to design their own solutions to that. Meanwhile, telling them as teachers, they can use this process one day to manage their own classrooms.”


Design thinking includes processes such as context analysis, creative thinking, sketching and drawing, prototyping, testing, and evaluating. 
Jennifer Hack Wolf, the founder of Below the Fold, a design thinking and content strategy consultancy, said design thinking, at its core, is about people.


“Design thinking is a process for solving problems. It’s all about putting the human, putting the other users, at the center of the problem-solving. It’s a way to get kids and adults thinking about other people in a different way and it helps build some creative confidence and make them better critical problem solvers.” 


Students interviewed peers, teachers, and school leaders to gather more information on the issues, collaborated to determine the best solution, and created prototypes of various solutions to the identified problem.


Five groups of sixth-grade students presented their idea concept to four community “shark judges.”


As each group presented their idea, the community sharks asked questions and offered feedback on the projects. 


The first group discussed the need for “brain breaks” during the school day. They suggested having a break to be outside, move their bodies, or have an “activity box” of things they can do during their break.


The second group discussed the need for different after school programs because currently, they said students did not like the programs available. 


They conducted surveys and came up with alternate ideas. The group even saw the need to create a fundraiser to fund the new after-school programs. 


The third group discussed the need for recycling in the classroom because of the large quantity of paper being thrown in the trash can. 


They said most classrooms don’t have recycle bins and they would like to incorporate those in each class. 


They came up with a prototype that illustrates what happens to ocean life as trash is thrown into the ocean. 


The fourth group identified a need for more comfortable chairs for students. They said teachers have padded chairs, but theirs are not. 


They created a prototype of what their new chairs might look like, which sparked discussion and questions from their peers. 


Students in the audience discussed where the money would come from for the chairs, if they would be able to stack them, if the height would be appropriate for the current desks, and if they would be so comfortable, they would end up falling asleep. 


The last group presented another issue on after-school programs, identifying a problem of students becoming antisocial if they were not given adequate programs to be involved in. 


They discussed the need for kids to be healthy, social, and active. They also discussed the need for additional adults and volunteers to help staff the programs.


After deliberation, the community sharks chose the last group as the winner. 


As a prize, the Latinx Education Collaborative offered tickets to AMC Theater to each group member as well as a $100 donation for the students to begin implementing their idea at the school.  


Students Marwa and Marah said they learned a lot from the project.
“We learned that just making an idea or starting something is not that easy, you need to have a lot of people’s opinions and what they would like and not only what you want,” said Marwa.


While the project stretched them educationally, they said they were able to still have fun in the process. 


“My favorite part was interviewing people and asking what they liked,” said Marwa.


“My favorite part was showing them the chair one of the people in my group made and asking questions,” said Marah.


Hack Wolf said working with sixth-graders was strategic. 


“I wanted to start with sixth-graders because this is a time when they are beginning to consider what careers they might want to go into,” she said. “Their minds are still creative like little kids but they can think very strategically and they’ve been really surprising problem solvers.” 


Palacios said ultimately, he hopes this project paves a pathway for more Latino students to become educators. 


“We are trying to increase Latino representation in education in K12 and so, hopefully, this lets kids know that they, too, can become teachers one day. I hope that they leave with knowing that their voices are incredibly important, their voice matters, and when they come together as a community, they can actually solve some issues and demand some change.”


For more information about Latinx Education Collaborative, visit www.latinxedco.org

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Plan Blueprint 2030 es aprobado, Collier invita a la comunidad a tomar acción 

    February 1st, 2023
    by

    El 25 de enero, la mesa directiva del Distrito de Escuelas Públicas de Kansas City aprobó la versión modificada del […]


    Blueprint 2030 approved, Collier calls community to action

    February 1st, 2023
    by

    Abby HooverManaging Editor On January 25, the Kansas City Public School District (KCPS) Board of Directors approved a revised Blueprint […]


    North-East Branch Library adjusts to meet needs of changing community

    February 1st, 2023
    by

    Abby HooverManaging Editor The North-East Branch of the Kansas City Public Library, 6000 Wilson Ave., is a gathering place, a […]


    Las escuelas del noreste podrían evitar el cierre

    January 30th, 2023
    by

    Abby Hoover, Managing EditorDaisy Garcia Montoya, Translator Un respiro de alivio se sintió en la sala de juntas de las […]


    UNESCO Creative City of Music-KC sends musical delegation to Chile

    January 27th, 2023
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Four women in the Kansas City Jazz scene took off from the Kansas City airport on Saturday […]


    27-year veteran firefighter Ross Grundyson named Interim Fire Chief

    January 27th, 2023
    by

    Following Fire Chief Donna Lake’s retirement earlier this month, Kansas City Manager Brian Platt announced the appointment of Assistant Fire […]


    Kansas City Community Kitchen closes due to COVID exposure

    January 27th, 2023
    by

    Meal service is suspended for Friday and Food Rescue Operations are suspended for Saturday of this week after kitchen staff […]


    Neighbors, tenant union help Indian Mound renters without heat

    January 25th, 2023
    by

    Left without heat in freezing temperatures this weekend, tenants at the Gladstone Court Apartments at 146 N. Lawn in Indian […]


    Make or break: Columbus Park acreage to get new developer

    January 25th, 2023
    by

    Abby HooverManaging Editor Columbus Park neighbors are finally seeing movement on a long-awaited redevelopment of six acres of Housing Authority […]


  • Public Works addresses bike lane issues on Truman Road

    January 25th, 2023
    by

    Dorri PartainContributor Following a January 6 listening session about the protected bike lanes recently installed on Truman Road, the Kansas […]


    Multiple felony charges filed against Amber Alert suspect

    January 21st, 2023
    by

    A Kansas City man is in custody facing six felony charges in relation to a domestic violence incident that began […]


    Advocates, providers scramble as Missouri’s new homelessness law goes into effect

    January 20th, 2023
    by

    A law passed last year made sleeping on state-owned land a misdemeanor in Missouri. It went into effect Jan. 1, […]


    RV Show Takes over Kansas City’s Bartle Hall

    January 20th, 2023
    by

    Sponsored Content Whether you’re a weekend warrior or looking to up your game and go full time, get your travelin […]


    Two Alarm Fire guts vacant Benton Boulevard building

    January 20th, 2023
    by

    This morning just after 6:00 a.m., Kansas City, Missouri Fire Fighters  responded to an apartment building blaze in the 500 […]


    Northeast schools may avoid closure

    January 18th, 2023
    by

    Abby HooverManaging Editor Relief flooded the Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) boardroom last Wednesday as the District Administration shared revised […]


    Columbus Park fights Airbnb takeover

    January 18th, 2023
    by

    Abby HooverManaging Editor Columbus Park, a historic urban neighborhood near downtown Kansas City, is being overrun by unregistered Short Term […]


    System failure temporarily closes Kansas City Museum

    January 13th, 2023
    by

    A failure of the HVAC system that controls temperature and humidity inside Corinthian Hall caused water damage to roughly 1,000 […]


    Felony murder charges filed in Saturday’s double fatality crash

    January 13th, 2023
    by

    Charles T. Matthews of Kansas City, Kan., faces multiple felony charges in connection with the deaths of two people killed […]


  • Northeast Newscast


  • Remember This?

    Remember This?

    February 1st, 2023
    by

  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.