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.