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Designtastic: Pursue Your Passion!

At KIS, learning happens in the middle. Here, fifth graders tell their learning story. 

In December, at the start of trimester two, elementary design teacher Ms. Vruegdenhil introduced the designtastic project. This is an individual project that allowed us to explore our own interests and share what we learn with others. First we had to find our passion!

During December we learned what we really liked. We started by writing an informational piece about a subject we know a lot about, but want to know more about. For most of us, this writing launched our designtastic project.

Everyone has a passion! Our teachers shared their passions with us. Ms. Brohm boxes, Mr. Boren loves video games, Ms. Reyes is committed to activism, Ms. Snavely appreciates photography, and Ms. Canales practices yoga. Seeing teachers enjoy their passions shows that what we like now might become a lifelong interest.

After winter break we started thinking about how to build or create something to show what we learn. Instead of telling you what we are learning or what we like, we show you! 

Some of us decided to try a totally new passion. After watching his mom sew, Ritvik decided to try sewing too. He learned a useful skill while designing and sewing a stuffed Among Us figure using old clothing for the fabric. Most fifth graders repurposed things we find around the house like boxes, paper, cloth, sticks, and plastics, using these parts to make our designs. 

Some fifth graders had to start from scratch, literally! Jane combined her passions for writing and baking to make a cookbook, testing each recipe. And a few students coded games using Scratch.

Family and friends inspired our learning too. Yenna’s music box theme comes from a friend’s taekwondo demonstration. Toshiki decided to build a model of Madison Square Garden after his college age brother shared a photo of when he visited the arena. Pets also inspired projects! Fifth graders built a dog house, designed cat toys, and made posters to raise awareness about animal rights. 

At some point, most of us failed. This is an important part of learning. When you fail, it can be frustrating. But we can also be motivated to try again, to figure out how to make a design work, or think of a better idea. Projects like this teach you about yourself, how you respond to failure or setback, and how you learn. We also learned to ask teachers and classmates for problem solving help. We recorded our process to share with others. 

The Designtastic Expo celebrated our passion projects! Sharing your passion can inspire others to learn more, or to pursue their own passion. Now we wonder: what will we learn next?

Fifth grade students who contributed to this story include Ajin, Hayden, Jane, Collin, Jayden, Jacob, Justin, Ritvik, Sophia, Yenna, and Toshiki.