positive design challenges coronavirus

We are all navigating unchartered territory as we learn to cope with the rapidly unfolding consequences of COVID-19. Every day, we are seeing more and more schools close their doors and moving to remote models of learning. Social media is full of ideas, resources, advice, and cries for help as everyone scrambles to find new ways for children to learn. Our children’s well-being, safety, and educational needs are front of mind for our stressed teachers and parents.

A recent post on Facebook has stuck with me this week: “..at the end of all this, your kid’s mental health will be more important than their academic skills. And how they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during those 4 or more weeks is long gone…”

Here are ten things I hope our children remember feeling when they look back on this time living with the coronavirus and a Makers Empire design challenge to go with each one. If your students or children don’t already have Makers Empire installed on their devices/computers you can download it here.

1 Feeling Love | Design Something For An Adult You Love

I hope our children will remember feeling loved. Children are surrounded by stressed-out, worried adults at the moment, but these same adults still find a way to put a smile on their faces and make a child feel special. I hope our children remember the kindness of the teacher who sent them a cheery message and the comforting feeling of snuggling up with a parent and a favourite story.

Design Challenge: Design something special to remind an adult you love that they are special to you. Will you design a keychain with a special message, or a photo frame to show off a treasured memory of a time you spend together?

2  Feeling Safe | Design a Family Activity

I hope our children will remember feeling safe. So many of the activities children regularly participate in are being cancelled and postponed. I am sure they will remember feeling disappointed, but I also hope that they remember that their disappointment was temporary and staying home from sports, hobbies and clubs was an important part of keeping them safe.

Design Challenge: Use your 3D modelling skills to show us an activity that your family can do together that keeps everyone safe.

3 Feeling Creative | Design a New Party Game

I hope our children will remember feeling creative and resourceful. With so many restrictions on our daily activities, there are lots of things our children can’t do at the moment. I hope our children remember how creative they were finding new ways to have fun and how resourceful they felt when they changed the way they might normally do an activity to fit in with the new rules.

Design Challenge: A lot of children will have their birthdays during this time that we are practising social distancing. They won’t be able to have the same kinds of birthday parties they usually have. Can you design a new party game that children could play while they keep at least 2 metres away from each other?

4. Feeling Empowered | Design a Board Game

I hope our children will remember feeling empowered. The situation with Covid-19 is changing daily and none of us can control it. I hope that children remember that in  amongst all the chaos and uncertainty they felt empowered to make a difference for their own families.

Design Challenge: Invent a new board game that you could play at home instead of leaving the house to have fun. Make sure your board game has the most creative, awesome 3D playing pieces.

5. Feeling Empathetic | Design a New Delivery Tool

I hope our children will remember how other people felt. This is a perfect time to practice empathy. Covid-19 will impact each and every one of us, and we will all experience the effects in different ways. I hope our children put themselves in the shoes of others and remember what they did to help someone else in need.

Design Challenge: Do you know someone who can’t leave their home due to quarantine or social isolation? What if they live alone? How will they get food and other supplies? Design a new invention that can deliver supplies to someone’s house without them having to open their door.

6. Feeling Heard | Design a Tool To Express Emotions

I hope our children will remember feeling heard. Our children are no doubt feeling worried about what is happening around them. They have questions, ideas and opinions about the issues that affect their daily lives. I hope our children remember being listened to and the people who made the effort to ask them how they were feeling.

Design Challenge: How could you communicate how you are feeling if you weren’t able to speak? Design something that could be used to express emotions without using words.

7. Feeling Inspired | Create a Solution to a Coronavirus Problem

I hope our children remember feeling inspired. All over the world, there are people working hard to find solutions to the problems we are all facing. From scientists developing vaccines to teachers teaching their students remotely for the first time, there are inspirational stories everywhere.

Design Challenge: Have you heard about someone solving a problem or helping others in an interesting way? Create a model to show the solution this person has come up with to help others cope during the COVID-19 crisis.

8 Feeling Part of a Community | Design Something for a Classmate

I hope our children remember feeling that they belonged. We are definitely all in this together. Many children are staying home from school at the moment, but I hope they remember feeling part of a family, a class, a school and a community.

Design Challenge: Design something that you could send through the post to a classmate to remind them of the fun times you have learning together at school. If you know someone with a 3D printer at home, you could even send them your design to print and keep.

9 Feeling Connected | Design a Way To Communicate With Your Friends

I hope our children remember feeling connected. Children might not be able to have physical contact with their teachers, classmates and friends at the moment, but I hope they remember feeling connected with them in different ways. Technology is such an important tool for helping us stick together, check in on our loved ones, and stay connected.

Design Challenge: Design a new tool for communicating with your school friends when you all have to stay at home.

10 Feeling Informed | Design a Mascot

I hope our children remember feeling informed. There is so much information being blasted at us through social media and on television. It’s really hard to make sense of it all, and to know what is true and what is fake news or misguided advice. I hope our children remember having access to just the right information that they could trust.

Design Challenge: Design a mascot that communicates an important health message about keeping safe from Covid-19. Your message might be about washing hands or keeping a safe distance from others.


AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Mandi Dimitriadis, DipT. is the award-winning, highly regarded and passionate Director of Learning at Makers Empire. She is an experienced classroom teacher who recognises the power of technology to enhance teaching and improve educational outcomes. Mandi has extensive experience with curriculum development and learning, having previously developed programs for the Australian Government’s Department of Education, and having created custom curriculum for Makers Empire schools in the USA, China and the UAE. She is passionate about Design Thinking and how best to prepare today’s students for the future.

 


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Makers Empire: Better Learning By Design

Makers Empire helps K-8 teachers teach Design Thinking, STEM and 21st-century learning skills using 3D printing. Our pioneering 3D solutions for schools include 3D modelling software, over 150 lesson plans aligned with international standards and professional development. With Makers Empire, engaged students learn how to solve real-world problems and make their world better.