Students take design technology classes over the course of three years. Sixth graders are exposed to digital and product design. Seventh and eighth graders choose four different classes from an array of offerings over the course of four semesters.
The technology courses focus on the use and application of the design cycle (inquire and analyze, develop ideas, create a solution, evaluate the solution). In design classes, students use their thinking, problem solving and
technical skills to create solutions or products that respond to a need. In sixth grade, units of work and processes are guided, focus is placed on designing solutions to teacher led challenges whereas in seventh and eighth grade the role of teachers is to become mentors on a project.
The design program is developed around the three principles of:
Communicate and present the results of their investigation, explore a variety of ways to communicate their designs and plans, document, reflect upon and communicate their progress as they create the solution to their problem. Present their solution to the audience and design tests for their solution. Written as well as visual and multisensory communication skills will be developed and encouraged.
Find a solution to issues which touch a variety of communities. Students have to develop a strong understanding of these communities, their audience, in order to serve them as best as possible.
Pull knowledge from all subject areas and inquire, reflect and communicate in a variety of ways. Design classes are not only a content class (knowledge and understanding of special tools and skills) but a thinking , problem solving and creating class.
All design students at French International Middle School
- Keep an open mind when investigating solutions: sometimes the best is not what you think first
- Keep inquiring: one question leads to the next idea and the next question
- Take risks: Try, err, evaluate and start again with more solid footing
- Communicate: communicate your process, communicate your findings, use peers and other adults as resources, interview people, communicate to set up appointments, communicate your goals
- Reflect: regularly ensure you are following the path you set to follow, do not hesitate to redress
Aims and Objectives
In order for students to:
- Develop an appreciation of the significance of technology in their life
- Use skills and techniques to create solutions
- Develop problem solving skills
- Develop understanding of each stage of the design cycle: investigate, plan, design, create and evaluate
- Communicate reflection, progress and implementation of each stage of the Design Cycle
- Use critical thinking to select best ways and tools to come to a solution
They will learn how to:
- State a problem and collect information from a variety of sources
- Evaluate information
- Design tests for the solution created
- Analyze and communicate the specifications of the product to be created
- Develop methods for generating designs of their product
- Develop methods for planning time and logical steps
- Explore a variety of tools and methods for creating their product
- Learn how to use a variety of tools and methods
- Develop methods for keeping track of their progress( journals, photographs, etc.)
- Evaluate results
- Implement tests to evaluate the products created
At the French International Middle School, teachers commit to a variety of summative assessments tasks clearly tied to learning objectives, skills and criteria. Before an assessment or along with it, teachers will hand out clearly described tasks and criteria for assessment. All units of work include formative assessments leading to the summative piece.