For my design challenge assignment, i had my students design a “deus ex machina” solution for a real life problem. For those interested, the assignment sheet is at the end of this blog post. As a teacher, i thought that this lesson would be fun, revealing, educational, and a great opportunity for kids to showcase their individual talents and passions. As a student i found that all of that was pretty much true. I find that my one major failing as a lesson designer is that i fail to provide specifics and appropriate modeling for students. Unfortunately that was the case here as well. I think a decent portion of it is that i need the classroom and unit context to really be specific enough. The other is that being that specific requires a lot of surety in your lesson plans and i don’t have that.
I think that this project would also do really well in a more structured format. It really depends on the student level. A more advanced IB class would really enjoy the opportunity to make what they will of the material, whereas a freshman class might be more concerned with specific instructions. I found that i really enjoyed coming up with ridiculous solutions to problems, but that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier. Sometimes i found it easier to imagine a realistic solution because i understand the laws of our universe, whereas coming up with inventive solutions that were semi-plausible was a bit more difficult without rules to fall back on. I think that this assignment would be a great addition to a unit about plot devices or creative writing.