Zen and the Design of Homework Desks
By Centennial Middle School, January 6, 2009
- Middle School
- Social Studies
420 minutes of classroom activities
Students will be introduced to design education by creating work spaces/desks for home use. Student work spaces at home are seldom optimal for doing homework. Students will use the design process to problem solve and create solutions for a home study area that may aid them in their school work as well as leading to efficency in completing their homework. The lesson is designed to introduce students to the design process. The lesson will help students understand how work space may help or hinder homework completion. Before beginning this lesson please do the"A" warm-up activity found in “Getting to Know Your Client or Zen and the Design of Homework Desks the Precursor.”
Standard 1. Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes Standard 2. Knows how to use structures (e.g., sensory qualities, organizational principles, expressive features) and functions of art Standard 5. Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of one's own work and the work of others Standard 6. Understands the connections between visual arts and other disciplines
- gain an understanding of design education by designing and building a desk work station for home use
- understand how work environment may affect homework completion
Photos of various desks from history and current designs. Many online resources for historic desks can be found. The following will provide a starting point: www.artsmia.org http://www.si.edu/Museums Also a Google image search for "desk" will provide many interesting photos to use.
- masking tape
- meter sticks
- scrap lumber
- lighting fixtures
- design process: a systematic problem solving strategy, with criteria and constraints, used to develop many possible solutions to solve a problem or satisfy human needs and wants and to narrow down the possible solutions to one final choice
- prototype: a standard or typical example
- ergonomics: the science of the design of equipment, especially so as to reduce operator fatigue, discomfort, and injury
- aesthetics: a philosophical theory as to what is beautiful
Class Period 1: 1. Send out requests for donated materials. 2. Create a display featuring photos of desks from history up to current time (see resources). 3. Facilitate a discussion with students on the following design process: Identify "needs" for a study area that might be included in the desk design. Include problems of studying at home such as distractions, lighting, etc. Class period 2: 1. Put students into design teams of four or five. 2. Students will work in teams to do the following tasks: Gather and Analyze information:
- Look at historic designs and discuss functions and aesthetics of those designs.
- Look at current designs discussing functions and aesthetics.
Students will be involved in a group project that will involve peer critques. The final desk(s) will have evolved from individual groups to one or two final project desks. Success will be based on their participation in the design process and by the design of the final desk(s).
Enrichment Extension Activities
Display desk(s) in a prominent area of the school with interpretive signage. Art Enrichment - Design for others: What designs would work with special needs children? Students design the ideal wheelchair accessible work space. Language arts: Students write a one-page paper describing their current home study area and what their dream study area would look like. Social Studies: Students investigate how children in developing countries do school work at school and at home.