Design Thinking in the Middle School


As part of the Year 9 Challenge-Based Learning program, Benjamin combined his music, art and coding skills to make an app called Le Bob.

At Northside, we use design thinking as an intentional approach to embedding thinking skills into our middle schooling program. It is a framework onto which we hang specific thinking skills to achieve specific learning tasks. The thinking skills are those identified by ongoing education research as having a more-than-average impact on student learning and outcomes. Teachers already practise many of these skills, so we help find consistency, share more internally, and identify what skills work best at which point in learning (McIntosh, NoTosh Institute).

So, what is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is the exploration and creation of outcomes using elements of logic, imagination, intuition and reasoning. It is solution-focused and action oriented, and uses both analysis and imagination.

In Design Thinking, three phases of creative conversations allow for the development of creative ideas:

  • The open phase, commonly known as divergent thinking, is about getting started and pushing boundaries, getting all the ideas out on the table and letting them sit, rather than deeming them good ideas or bad ideas.
  • The explore phase, or emergent thinking, involves making connections and building on what you’ve opened with.
  • The close phase, or the convergent thinking phase, involves organising your ideas and concepts to choose the best way to move forward.

(The Lab Strategy)

Where does Design Thinking happen in the Middle School?

Year 7 – Think Tank:

A weekly lesson whereby students get to take part in many activities that enable students to demonstrate and identify thinking strategies and give them an introduction to setting and solving challenges / problems using the design process.

Year 8 – Design Dilemma:

A whole day simulation at the end of semester which presents students with a mystery that needs to be solved using a number of cross-curricular activities over the course of the day.

Year 9 – Challenge-Based Learning (Design Thinking Challenge):

A six-month elective that enables students to focus on a topic or issue that they are passionate about. They are required to develop a design challenge and follow the design process over the semester and eventually showcase the process and project at the end.

The Challenge-Based Learning Showcase

The following photos represent just a few of the fantastic projects completed by the Year 9 students who participated in Challenge-Based Learning in Semester 1. Their projects covered a broad spectrum of topics, from fitness to mental health, and honed many skills including writing, photography, coding and project management.





Ellie explored her dual passions of photography and fitness by creating a website called Go Fit Photography.



Ashton’s enthusiasm for his Challenge-Based Learning project was inspirational.



Matthew focused his Challenge-Based Learning project on basketball. His detailed manual about the sport can be used by coaches, referees and players.




Look at the quality and depth of the information in Matthew’s manual.



Kayla used the semester to create a mental health awareness campaign for students.



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Zoe wrote a collection of short stories called Sticks & Stones, which she made into an e-book.




2016 June & July Break Vacation Care


Vacation Care has lots of fun planned for the Winter break. Check out the activities here.

It’s not too late to enrol your child. We are still taking bookings for Vacation Care at $45 a day per child.

Vacation Care opening times are 8:00am – 6:00pm Monday to Friday with an optional 7:30am start (for an additional fee of $5.00) by request only (please note this on your booking form). Please note that if you do not request this earlier start it is likely that no staff member will be present to take care of your child.

Morning tea and afternoon tea will be provided, but we ask that you pack lunch for your child/ren. It is also necessary to pack a hat, shoes that your child can run in, anything specific to the program of the day (e.g., movie from home) and a water bottle (optional but highly suggested).

We look forward to seeing you and your children over the holiday! Please contact Belinda Butler or Rachel Irwin for booking forms and further information


Belinda Butler

Northside OSHC Coordinator

Warm Food for Cold Days – The College Café Winter Menu

soup-1429797_1280It’s that time of year again! The College Café is serving delicious warm meals for the cooler days ahead. Homemade soups, stuffed baked potatoes, and creamy butter chicken with rice are a few of the tempting winter specials.

Check out the Winter Warmer Menu here.

Please note the Café serves breakfast from 7:30 – 8:20 AM.


Next Steps Kindy Open Day 18 June

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The Next Steps Kindy Open Day had to be postponed due to bad weather. It has been rescheduled to 18 June from 9:00 to 11:00am. We hope to see you there!

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