We are currently designing and running programs in and around Cambridge.
With each program we seek to work with the public school district, the after school community, or with a local business partner.
We've partnered up with Pivotal Labs to create an invention club hosted in Kendall Sq.
The program focuses on supporting students toward creative problem solving through technical skills such as coding and engineering. We connect passionate mentors from the local technology community with students to help them explore and work together to solve interesting challenges.
We meet with a small group of high school students on a weekly basis to discuss their educational experiences and what an ideal high school experience might look like.
Topics range from the ideal class to how you can better support discussions of controversial topics to what the ideal schedule might look like to how you might deal with discipline in a school.
We have been running a weekly program at the Moses Youth Center in Cambridge. The program has ranged from coding to more active engineering challenges.
Many of the students at the youth center are interested in athletics so we're hoping to explore program designs that support that passion in the near future.
Students will explore different frameworks for thinking (e.g. Design Thinking, Computational Thinking, First-Principle Thinking) and will develop their skills for observation through artistic exercises, philosophic discussions, and problem solving challenges.
Students will use these skills to reframe challenges and goals in their own lives. They will practice observing from different perspectives, developing their ability to empathize more effectively, and question their own assumptions.
Lastly we'll explore the way these processes and techniques have been used through-out history and continue to be used across all adult professional activities. Students will be supported toward becoming philosophers of their own lives and interests.
Status: Pilot currently running at Cambridge Street Upper School
The Puzzle School is collaborating with David Ng, the founder of Vertical Learning Labs, to develop an online resource designed to support an exploration of artistic observation and computational thinking. Essentially students will learn how to teach a computer to draw and design games.
Through a series of challenges students will develop their ability to observe their physical world and translate that into code so that a computer can draw it. From there students will be able to animate their drawing and make them interactive (games).
The eventual goal is to support students toward projects of their own design that can then be shared with friends and family.
Status: In Development
One of The Puzzle School's advisors, Ela Ben-Ur, is a 15 year veteran of the world-renowned design firm, Ideo. Drawing on her experiences at IDEO Ela has created the Innovator's Compass, a simplified framework for engaging in Design Thinking.
We are working with Ela to design programs that leverage the Innovator's Compass and Design Thinking toward problems that are personally important to students. This may range from choosing a college to a fight with a significant other or family member. In each situation student will be asked to observe their situation, brainstorm on what matters most, think through possible future, think through experiments they could try to achieve their goal, and then repeat.
Status: In Development
We are exploring a series of questionaires and activities that can help students think about themselves more deeply. Students will explore their interests, their strengths, their weaknesses, and how they want to contribute to the world in a way that leverages their abilities and would add value to their community.
Using this information students will brainstorm independent and group projects and will think about possible adult mentors who may be able to help them navigate toward their personal goals.
Status: In Development
“So this was the big secret historians keep to themselves: historical research is wildly seductive and fun. There's a thrill in the process of digging, then piecing together details like a puzzle.”
~ Nancy Horan
“As a kid, I was into music, played guitar in a band. Then I started acting in plays in junior high school and just got lost in the puzzle of acting, the magic of it. I think it was an escape for me.”
~ Michael J. Fox
“When you write non-fiction, you sit down at your desk with a pile of notebooks, newspaper clippings, and books and you research and put a book together the way you would a jigsaw puzzle.”
~ Janine di Giovanni
“I tell people all the time, as I was going through my process of being a comedian or being an actor and a writer at 'SNL,' I tell people that everything you do is all a piece of your puzzle to determine where you're going to end up at.”
~ J. B. Smoove