Through visualizing and scaffolding design thinking – and providing a vocabulary and structure – the Design Cycle helps students act their way into a form of thinking that can support problem-solving, application of knowledge and creative thinking in other contexts. Once habituated, this is powerful: the levels of sophistication produced by young teens with the right structures can be amazing to uninitiated adults.
Inspired by the IB’s Middle Years Programme (MYP, ages 11-16) Design Cycle in the 2014 Next Chapter programme overhaul, I went into a frenzy of designing cycles and applying design/cycle thinking to my roles as teacher and coordinator.
They are created in Google Drawings and you should be able to follow the links below to resources for each. Over the last couple of years, we’ve built up a decent collection ;>
This one is a simple poster for the MYP Design Criteria. No adaptation from the original other than colouring. See above for the poster with descriptors.
Personal Project Cycle
This one is used heavily in our Personal Project support materials at school and again the poster version includes the assessment criteria for student reference. The gif animation is to emphasise the progression of the project. Although the Personal Project itself is a singular sustained experience in Grade 10, it connects closely to Design thinking, service learning (potentially) and in some cases “cycles on” to form the basis of a student’s IB Diploma CAS project. Click here for more.
Service Learning Cycle
I made this in collaboration with Midori Nishizawa, our Director of Service Learning, with the following design specifications, IB guidance and the work of Cathryn Berger Kaye in mind:
- Focus on putting needs first in Service Learning
- Emphasise a design-cycle approach for effective, sustained service that moves beyond “doing service” as an activity.
- Bring the Service Learning Outcomes to the fore
- Develop our Service Learning Expectations for MYP 1-3-5 in a qualitative, outcomes-connected, ATL-aligned framework
As we move from community service to service learning, we start to lean more heavily on this cycle and the descriptors. If our students want to complete a service-oriented Personal Project, they should also engage this cycle. Post here.
Experimental Cycles: MYP Science & IB Diploma
My IBDP Sciences cycle was put together for quick reference on IA investigations. The MYP Experimental Cycle was created to visualise criteria B and C, to show the flow of the investigation and to provide sentence stems for thinking and writing. This was super useful for getting MYP 1 students up and running in experimental design, especially for EAL students. Click here for a post on i-Biology.net with the cycles and printable sentence stems.
Arts & PHE Cycles
These were made for the purposes of visualising the objectives for classroom walls and materials. The PHE poster has versions for MYP 1-3-5, and we did it up in red and grey, our Falcons colours. Although less naturally a cycle, the visualisation shows the interaction and iteration between objectives.
This one is for professional learning, curriculum development and assessment, and is an explicit attempt to move away from moderation of assessment as an ‘event’ into an ongoing collaborative process. Click here for a post and explanation.
Tankyuu (探 究): Professional Inquiry Cycle
This one represents years of work at Canadian Academy, and was created as an (optional) support structure for teacher inquiry goals. It is part of the evolution of professional learning and goal-setting away from formulaic templates and into to more authentic and exciting teacher-driven inquiry. Read about the journey here.
Others getting involved
I’ve had a few requests from people to adapt or translate cycles for their own schools, and it is great to see their results. I’ll add more as they are shared back.