Field Experience

Rapid Prototyping with The James Dyson Foundation

Students in Design & Engineering received a visit from a team of designers and engineers from the James Dyson Foundation. We have a longstanding partnership with the Dyson Foundation, and we are so grateful we get to learn from their experts every year. This year, students were tasked with answering the prompt, “How does design solve problems?”. Under the guidance of the Dyson experts, the students worked in small groups to identify problems they face daily and started to design a product that could address that issue. Admittedly, the process was a bit messy, but according to the designers, that’s precisely the way it should be.

Field Experience

Envisioning the Future of Bicycles at Earth Rider

Juniors in Design & Engineering visited Earth Rider, a full-service, woman-owned bike shop to learn from store-owner and bike expert, Sharon. Sharon is a League Cycling Instructor and a certified Bicycle Technician from the United Bicycle Institute. She shared a wealth of knowledge about different types of bikes and how they have evolved to meet different needs. She also talked about parts of a bike, bike safety, and accessories that make biking more accessible and practical for all types of commuters. During this visit, the students collected important information that’ll help them design their own bikes and tried out some smooth-riding e-bikes!!! The students were overwhelmed by Sharon’s hospitality; spending time at Earth Rider was more like being at her home than at a bike shop.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to learn more about bicycles (how they are put together and how they are evolving) so that the students can then design our own bikes.

How?

They talked to the owner of the Earth Rider about the parts that make up a bike, their purpose, and the choices designers make when using certain parts over others.

Field Experience

Working with Bikes at Working Bikes

Juniors in Design & Engineering met with Anna, the volunteer coordinator at Working Bikes in Pilsen to learn about the anatomy and the mechanics of bikes. In the second unit of this STEAM course, students have been pursuing the guiding question, “How are bikes designed and engineered to solve specific problems?”. In their pursuit of an answer, students have been studying the concepts of weight, speed, acceleration, velocity, and mass and their effects on simple machines such as the wheel, the axle, and the pulley. To gain a better understanding, the students visited Working Bikes , an organization committed to giving new life to discarded bicycles and distributing them as tools of empowerment to local and global communities.

On the day the students visited, a shipping crate was waiting to be filled and shipped to the Jordan. Anna showed the group how to get the bikes ready for transport, and they got right to work.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, “How do bicycles impact lives?”. The students talked to experts to investigate the evolution of bikes and how they are put together so that they can then design a bike that suits a person’s specific needs.

How?

The students talked to bike shop employees about the parts that make up a bike, their purpose, and the choices designers make when choosing to use certain parts over others.

Field Experience

Better Design at the Greater Good Studio

Juniors in Design & Engineering have been pursuing the guiding question, How does design process impact product and experience?. Specifically, students have been investigating the design of gardening tools and bicycles, and the importance of practicing empathy and designing with inclusivity in mind. As a part of their investigation, they visited Greater Good Studio, a design firm committed to making the world a better place through human-centered design. The students met with designer and co-founder, Sara to learn more about her design philosophy and, to get a behind-the-scenes look at the design process in a professional setting.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience to see what it’s like being a professional designer, and learn from their process.

How?

The students toured the space, talked to designers, and asked questions about the design process.

Field Experience

Experiencing Sound at the Chicago Music Exchange

In the second unit of the course, Light, Sound, and Time, the Juniors have been investigating the guiding question, What does life sound like?. As a part of their investigation, they have been examining how sound travels, how we hear sound, and how we make and control sound. At the end of this unit, the students will use the culmination of their learning to construct their own guitar. In order to do this, they visited the Chicago Music Exchange to gain a better understanding of the anatomy and the acoustics of a guitar.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to gain an understanding of the functions of the different parts that make up an instrument.

How?

Students collected information in order to build their own guitars by speaking with experts at the Chicago Music Exchange.

Field Experience

Studying Sustainability at Interface

In the first unit of the Biomimicry Elective, the students have been investigating the guiding question, What would a plant do?. In this course, students are studying the concept of biomimicry through Art & Science. They are investigating diverse case studies of biomimicry that rethink art, technology, and society from the perspective of nature in order to rethink and redesign flawed products. As a part of this investigation, the students visited Interface, a global flooring company whose products are not only inspired by nature but whose production positively impacts the planet.

The students spent the morning touring the Interface showroom and talking to Mikhail Davis, their Director of Restorative Enterprise to learn more about how biomimicry is applied. Our biggest takeaway from Mikhail is that nature has already solved all of our problems, our job is to ask her the right questions to find the solutions.

Why

The students visited Interface to learn how nature impacts not only the design of their products but the mission and philosophy of the company.

How

The students will talk to Mikhail Davis, the Director of Restorative Enterprise at Interface.

Field Experience

Studying Motion and Design at On the Route Bikes

Juniors in the Design & Engineering class talked to a bike expert at On The Route Bicycles to learn about the mechanics of bikes and the purposes that different types of bikes serve. On The Route Bicycles is owned by a GCE parent and she strives to run the best bike shop and to do the best repairs in Chicago. In the second unit of this STEAM course, students have been pursuing the guiding question, How do wheels make the world spin?. In their pursuit of an answer, students have been studying the concepts of weight, speed, acceleration, velocity, and mass and their effects on simple machines such as the wheel, the axle, and the pulley.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, How do bicycles impact lives?. The students talked to experts to investigate the evolution of bikes and how they are put together so that they can then design a bike that suits a person’s specific needs.

How?

The students talked to bike shop owner and bike expert, Joanne about the parts that make up a bike, their purpose, and the choices designers make when choosing to use certain parts over others.

Field Experience

Physics in the Garden at Home Depot

Juniors in the Design & Engineering class talked to experts from the gardening department at Home Depot to investigate the physics of gardening tools. In the first unit of this STEAM course, students have been pursuing the guiding question, what lies at the heart of our fundamental drive to create tools?. In their pursuit of an answer, students have been investigating the angles, pressure, force, and leverage in a variety of tools that have forever changed our interactions with our surroundings.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, what makes an effective tool?. The students talked to experts to identify the differences between mediocre gardening tools and great gardening tools. Through this field research, students will gain insight into how to design their own quality gardening tool.

How?

The students talked to experts to understand how tools are used, the parts that make up the tools, and which tools are most effective and why.

Field Experience

The Design Process @ Beyond Design

Juniors in the Design & Engineering class met with Michael Prince, the president of Beyond Design. In this STEAM course, students are investigating what it means to be a designer. Through this investigation, students have learned that being a designer is far more than conceptualizing and designing a new product. Being a designer requires empathy, compassion, patience, expertise, and a whole lot more. This was confirmed by our visit with Mr. Prince. He shared stories about the trials and tribulations of starting his own design firm. He stressed the importance of empathizing with his clients, working with a diverse team, and embracing the iterative nature of the design process.

It was a unique and eye-opening experience to get a behind-the-scenes look at a successful design firm.

Why?

This term we are studying design, and how to make things better. The purpose of this FE is to introduce the class to professional designers and to get them to think like designers.

How? 

Students talked to designer Michael Prince and toured Beyond Design to understand the work of a designer.