This spring the Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation based out of a independent school in Sandy Springs, Ga hosted a Design Thinking Summit. Innovative educators from Atlanta’s independent schools, public schools, and universities came together to learn about the power of design thinking.
This is a taste of an inspiring day of innovation, collaboration, and fun!
I’ve mentioned Bruce Mau before, but just recently found his firm’s “Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.” (thanks @jonhusband for tweeting) This is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in positively affecting their world. Depending on your perspective this is good parenting advice, cliff’s notes for Design Thinking, learning objectives for a design class, or humorous satire. The “Incomplete Manifesto for Growth” has 43 points. Which are your favorites??
Since I mentioned biomimicry in my previous post, I thought I’d link to a few resources until I can devote a full post to the subject. This TED Talk from Janine Benyus is a great intro and will hopefully get you excited about biomimicry, how relevant the subject is, and how much potential it holds.
Here is a brilliant product called Sharklet (mentioned in the video). Imagine proactively defending against bacterial infection by using this stuff on “touch surfaces.” What a powerful alternative to continually cleaning with disinfectants and harsh chemicals.
Speaking of which, proactively rethinking how we design chemicals and reduce environmental impact of existing chemicals are a few examples of the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry outlined by Beyond Benign. Please check out their website to learn about the 12 Principles. Their ideas relate closely to Design Thinking in that they challenge us to rethink how industrial chemistry is currently practiced so as to reduce the potential for waste and toxicity. For us teachers – they also have some great lesson plans available for all ages. (Here is the obligatory Creative Commons License link: Beyond Benign / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) I’m currently taking a class offered by Beyond Benign and am thrilled at the possibilities of integrating these lessons into my existing Chemistry (and Biology) curriculum.
Back to biomimicry… Beyond Benign also posts great biotechnology lesson plans. For even more lessons and a curricular map, follow the link from Beyond Benign to one their partners at the Biomimicry Institute.
I hope this inspires some ideas for science teachers out there! I would love to hear feedback from any of you that are implementing Biomimicry or Green Chemistry concepts in the classroom. What works and what doesn’t?