Phenomenological Design Improv


Rapid interdisciplinary instructional design warm up activity.

This Gets You
to practice collaborative ideation and to think broadly about how we might bring an authentic phenomena or topic into our design which will serve multiple curricula and disciplines. 

Keep in Mind
authentic problems or projects are inherently interdisciplinary. Choose interesting and engaging topics from the news or your community. What topics would engage your audience and lend themselves to energetic sharing and collaboration?

“Design a unit for your students around a possible Olympic Bid by Calgary.” What topics or subjects could be integrated into this unit? Math, physical education, persuasive writing, globalization, architecture, statistics, chemistry, finance, journalism, history, health and wellness, …. more!  What would it look like if we designed opportunities to take up issues or topics the way we do outside of school with an interdisciplinary holistic approach?

Using a Project Pitch Tool , participants receive a topic to rapidly ideate around for 7-10 minutes.

The phenomena or topic will become the catalyst for a rapid design of a potential unit of thematic inquiry. Team members will brainstorm which disciplines or curricula are connected to this topic? What resources could you access or visit to enrich the learning? What might students Make, Do, or Become through the course of this potential learning opportunity?

At the end of the time, groups will share back their plans on the Project Pitch Tool through a gallery walk or brief presentation. We repeat the rapid design cycle a few times to build a larger repository of designs to share and to illustrate that the activity isn’t about producing a finished design that we’re accountable to, rather in practicing the collaborative habits of mind necessary for designing meaningful learning for our students.

Examples of Topics or Phenomena for rapid prototyping:

Marijuana Legalization Climate Change Indigenous Language Revitalization
Bitcoin A possible Calgary Olympic Bid Taylor Swift’s new Album
A new Calgary Flames arena Hurricane Harvey and Irma North Korea
Universal Basic Income Trump’s Wall Self driving cars

We have also started the activity by having teachers draw a discipline from each of 2 hats and they have to rapidly design a unit at the intersection of them. For example: “Design a unit of study that incorporates Biology and Photography” or “Engineering and Journalism” or “Political Science and Software Design” Follow this link and scroll down for examples of the 2 lists we’ve used in the past where we choose one from each column to design toward. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VEKivng7mBqF7FeRpPoHB4zFHbtrX-6sIlVTqW3UUgY/edit?usp=sharing