History Specific Installations

Students investigate the history of their school to develop site specific installations.

Photo of Amelia Shull
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In our Design in Action class, we use the Design Thinking model to interview groups of individuals around the school.  Depending on current events, we will take on the challenge of reflecting on stories or events from our school's history and then create site-specific installations.  When our school had it's 50th Anniversary, it coincided with the removal of an old Water Tower on campus.  Students decided to make 5 scale models of the watertowers that reflected stories about the school from certain time periods (broken into 10 year blocks, starting in 1964).  They also created infographics of the history of sports at the school, making giant cloth bar graphs that hung around the gym, surrounded with historical photographs of athletes.  Currently, an older mural that was of 4 children dancing was destroyed with the creation of a new Lower School building.  Students are returning the children to the walls, using masking tape murals.  Each of the four dancing children images will be placed outside of the new classrooms, as if they've found their own homes.  All of these ideas begin with story sharing, and invite the students to figure out where they fall in the history and time-line of the school.

How does this idea help to spark student curiosity?

These experiences allow students to reflect with others and imagine intentional innovate works that they can then design and implement for the community. As they begin by listening, they too feel that their ideas and work will eventually live on in others, passing on the creative spirit! My students have been really driven to do their best & most unique work. They are led to design projects that reflect the needs of others, and craft them as if they are giving a gift (which they are!).

What grade level is this idea most appropriate for?

  • High School (9-12)

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