Design Lab Week #1

The first week of school during Design Lab we jumped right into a mini project we called the “Extraordinaires  Design Sprint”. For people who don’t know what Design Lab is, it’s basically a new class my English teacher created for my high school this year that tries to have students think more innovatively, as that has been proven to have kids learn better. We are going to be redesigning our classroom and the entire class is an experiment to prove to our school that teaching kids like innovators really works.

Anyway, the design sprint the class did had teams of us receive character cards that we had to analyze and design a place of learning for. My team, even though it ended up just being me when my pImage result for extraordinaires design studioartner got sick, had the acrobat character. After observing the card, we tried to interpret the pictures that were on it to discover our character for what she was. Our acrobat was the start of the circus she worked for, but her passion was fixing up cars as a mechanic. My partner and I decided that because she was so talented by being flexible, and also a bit introverted and lonely, that she needed to learn with a hands-on approach with new people. So, our place of learning we designed was a job shadowing opportunity where the acrobat could learn how to repair cars with new people wherever her circus traveled. I built a little model of a repair shop for this out of the scrap materials we were given and presented it, and below was my reflection of the whole process.



  • I liked how we observed the character we had and noted unique features about them.
  • The use of scrap objects was interesting as it was unexpected.
  • Receiving feedback from my classmates was helpful.
  • Moving so quickly was a little confusing as I wasn’t always sure what was going on, but I got the hang of it. Things weren’t always explained that well either.



Studying our characters before designing a place for learning for them was very important as we had to understand who they were as an individual. Not everyone thinks similarly, and I think designing different places to learn for each character showed this. While making a prototype for the place of learning out of scrap objects was hard, it challenged my creativity in a way I didn’t know my creativity could stretch to. Doing that more often could help me find the potential in anything. Receiving feedback from classmates was the biggest help I got from the project, as everyone will see your character a little differently and show you features about them you didn’t notice yourself. I think the hardest part of the whole project was the pace at which we had to work and the lack of direction we got. I sometimes was confused as to what we were supposed to do, and while less guidance gave me more freedom, I wish I had more direction so that I wouldn’t lose sight of the project’s goal.Image result for extraordinaires design studio



If I could do anything differently, I would definitely practice my presentation to my peers more and put my ideas on a poster for everyone to see. I’m not the best presenter, and I felt like my classmates lost some understanding of my design because of it. Some things I thought I did well was designing my prototype out of the scrap objects and thinking of ideas for my character. I’m very observant, and while making note of my character I noticed little details about her I could include in my design. Visually representing that design with the scrap objects was fun as it was unconventional and a bit hard, but I liked it.

The project was fun, and getting peer feedback was probably my favorite part of the whole thing. It was a good first week!


2 thoughts on “Design Lab Week #1

  1. Hi Alexa, Rory here. I’m one of the creators, along with Anita Murphy of The Extraordinaires® Design Studio. Your teacher Mr Heidt shared this post online. After reading it, I felt compelled to leave a comment.

    We designed each character to reflect a different set of needs. What struck me was how you interpreted the Circus Acrobat: “My partner and I decided that because she was so talented by being flexible, and also a bit introverted and lonely, that she needed to learn with a hands-on approach with new people.” It is always fascinating how people interpret things differently, and how each Extraordinaire develops a unique identity with each player.

    I hope you keep playing with The Extraordinaires® Design Studio and I look forward to seeing future designs. Some of which may just go on and change the world!


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