DT Philly's 6th-8th grade design teams have been busy since October, learning about design thinking, identifying problems, and crafting solutions. We celebrated their creativity and hard work over lunch at Citizens Bank Park last week, after which students presented their projects to their peers and a panel of judges. This year's presenters were:
- The Lilac Lions of Shawmont School, a group of new and returning DT Philly participants who explored ways that students can channel emotions and energies without disrupting class.
- The Disston Dreamers, a sixth grade team from Hamilton Disston School, who explored solutions to a lack of storage space for student coats and bookbags.
- The Free Thinkers of William C. Longstreth School, whose team members boast several years of DT Philly experience and who explored problems with student discomfort in the classroom.
- Team Minverva of Shawmont School, who explored using outdoor spaces at their school to expand and diversify the learning environment.
- The Golden Tigers of Tilden Middle School, a mixed-grade group of designers in the autistic support program who explored DIY toy making as a way to reuse broken toys, reduce expenditures for students/families, and creatively engage fellow students.
An awards ceremony followed the presentations. The Disston Dreamers, whose team included a graduate of last year's 3rd-5th grade program, took top honors and were widely praised by the judges for the way they embraced the design thinking process and for their testing and iteration of their prototypes. Coming in a mere 3/10 of a point behind were the Longstreth Free Thinkers, who also earned the the Designers' Choice Award, determined by the popular vote of their peers. Third place went to Team Minverva of Shawmont School.
Reflecting on their experience, many of the student designers said they enjoyed the freedom to choose their own project and wished the experience could both last longer ("like until June," said one participant) and incorporate more students. Congratulations to all of our design teams, and a big thank you to the teachers! We would also like to thank the Phillies and Aramark for generously hosting the event, and the judges who graciously shared their time, wisdom, and encouragement. Our jury included: Sam Fletcher, textile designer; Galen Kane, industrial designer; Fletcher MacNeill, principal at NORR Architects; and Eric Schneider, President and Director of Industrial Design at Phase One Design.