Sociedad Latina: Teaching Achieve Skills through Design Thinking

Sociedad Latina: Teaching Achieve Skills through Design Thinking

This post is part of a series about the workshop presentations delivered at the ACT Skills Summit.

Lydia Emmons, Program Director at Sociedad Latina, shared with workshop attendees at the ACT Skills Summit the way that design thinking can be used to cultivate the Achieve skills: critical thinking, creativity, and perseverance.

Sociedad Latina is a youth development organization in Mission Hill. The program works with youth in the long term: students start in the sixth grade and continue through their second year in college. Middle school participants work on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) projects, and older students participate in academic programming, youth employment, and community organizing. Youth use the design thinking process in their projects, which helps to foster some crucial skills for success.

Design thinking has five steps:

  1. Empathize
  2. Define the Problem
  3. Ideate
  4. Prototype
  5. Test

Workshop attendees went through their own design thinking process with an example prompt, and then Lydia discussed with the group ways that design thinking could apply to activities in their programs, including outside of STEM-related topics.

“By using the design thinking process over and over again, students learn how to apply it to other parts of their lives: using critical thinking to problem solve, recognizing that these solutions must be creative, and persevering through any challenges,” Lydia commented.

Lydia also shared with the group some sentence stems and graphic organizers that Sociedad Latina uses as a best practice for working with English learners. The majority of youth involved in Sociedad Latina’s programs fall into this category.

All materials used at the workshop can be found here.