In ICS International School teaching is delivered through a succession of 5 different Design Lab Units, based around a theme, which is the complementary background for different learning opportunities. Each unit starts with a workshop (or lab), lasting a week, which is the moment of discovery.
This unique experience emotionally and tangibly captivates students. After the discovery phase, the knowledge phase begins, which is delivered with a cross-curricular approach based on one or more of the topics (interdisciplinary research units).
During these labs the students and teachers have the opportunity to work alongside professional designers in the classroom on projects intended to stimulate their interest, imagination and creativity. Together the teachers and designers plan a series of explorations, research and practical activities which are aimed to develop collaboration, problem solving and innovative thinking skills. Children are then encouraged to apply and make connections between their experiences during the design labs, to their learning throughout the rest of the unit.
The structure of the design workshop week
The design workshop lasts a week and introduces the topic. Each class works to a brief related to the theme of the topic, which has been designed to teach the skills needed for the second phase of the curriculum, the knowledge part. The briefs are all important problem-based projects that the student, or groups of students, work on together to gather information and propose sustainable ideas.
The first day is dedicated to the presentation and discussion about the brief. On the second day the students start to dig a little deeper through analysis, mind maps, discussions with classmates and planned activities. Over the weekend the students have time to relax and allow new ideas to settle. On their return to school, children continue to analyse the theme, guided by the designer and start to draw conclusions. At this point planning can begin and the children can bring their ideas to life, using diagrams and drawings, then prototypes.