Escuela Vieau’s bilingual eighth graders participated in a district-wide STEM Design Day Challenge sponsored by U.S. Cellular and Jason Learning. Students tackled the challenge of creating a space for friends and families to come together and stay safe during natural disasters using mobile technology. They used the design thinking framework for creative problem-solving taught by leading universities around the world and employed by top tech companies; using this creative process, students focused on the people they were creating for, leading them to find more innovative solutions through a practice centered on empathy, ideation, and experimentation. Throughout the process, students used creative tools to address a vast range of challenges and received critical feedback from U.S. Cellular volunteers. With this feedback, students continued to take their solutions back to the drawing board in order to rethink, reinvent, and rework their solutions. They created and presented final prototypes to a panel of judges including professors and leaders at the University of Wisconsin, the Boys & Girls Club, and U.S. Cellular. Our Vieau students came away with 3 of 5 awards, including the best team presentation, the community partner award, and the judges’ selection award.
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