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Challenge Week

For the past 2 days here at LIS we have been getting our sleeves rolled up and working on the MIT challenge ‘Medical Marvels’. 

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We started the week with a special whole school assembly. We learnt more about our design challenge which was to ‘Design a medical device or an assistive technology that makes life better for someone with an illness or a disability.’ 

We heard from an inspirational athlete from New Zealand named Rachel Maia who is a para athlete (she has lost her leg from below the knee) and ranked number 4 in the world for rock climbing. She had a special message for our students about some of her challenges and to “think big” with designing possible solutions for people with disabilities or illnesses.  

We then heard from our next guest speaker Mr David Liu who is an expert from our local community, within the field of assistive technology. He introduced some current technologies to students, and then shared some future possibilities to help our students ‘think outside the box’.  

On Monday our secondary school tackled the challenge while our primary students engaged with empathy activities designed to help put themselves in the shoes of others with disabilities. It was fantastic to see the students engaging with this topic and experiencing some of the challenges of day to day life with a disability. On Tuesday our Primary school completed the design process.  

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During the design process students worked in the house teams, and were then further divided into smaller groups of varied grade levels. The students brainstormed as many different designs as possible at first, and then selected their top two designs using a selection criteria. These top two designs were further refined through a process of critique and improvement.  

Then came the fun! Prototyping. Students had access to a range of recycled and new materials, to bring their designs to life. It was great to see students buzzing with excitement and completely engaged in their tasks. They were creative, animated and articulate when discussing their ideas, and how they were building them. Students were constantly faced with challenges along the way, as they tested, tweaked, problem solved and ultimately improved and refined their designs to a point they were happy with. 

Finally, when students had completed their builds, they spent time developing a presentation to share their designs back to an audience of their peers and teachers. This was a great chance to hear students talk about the design thinking process they went through and how they overcame some of their design challenges. Also, the creativity and imagination articulated during these presentations was fantastic.