By Laura Lindberg
Photo by ASUCLA
The Design-Based Learning method described in this new book engages young people in creating high-level, interdisciplinary learning projects.
The Design Based Learning Project at UCLA Center X is based on a methodology developed by UCLA Education alumna and former UCLA Lab School teacher Doreen Gehry Nelson. Her new book, Cultivating Curiosity: teaching and learning reimagined, describes in detail the reasoning behind the use of this method of engaging young learners. On June 4, members of the UCLA Ed & IS and larger educational community joined together to celebrate the launch of Nelson’s new book at an event co-hosted by legendary architect Frank Gehry, his wife Berta Gehry, and UCLA Wasserman Dean Christina (Tina) Christie. This book launch event featured Nelson in conversation with Dean Christie and Annamarie Francois, Ph.D., executive director of UCLA Center X.
In 2019, UCLA Ed & IS adopted Design-Based Learning as one of the official K-12 projects within UCLA Center X – alongside The Science Project, The Mathematics Project, The Writing Project, The History/Geography Project, and other subject matter projects, because of UCLA’s strong belief in Design-Based Learning as an innovative and valuable tool for teachers who want to engage their students, while working to foster creativity and promoting active and collaborative learning. This student-centered teaching methodology engages students in seeking and solving curriculum-based problems as they build a city or other small, contextual models within their classroom. UCLA was eager to bring this project into UCLA Center X because of its huge potential to bring learning to life — and because the project has both qualitative and quantitative data that proves the impact on student engagement and learning. UCLA’s goal is to share this innovative method of teaching and learning widely with schools and school districts in Southern California and nationally over the coming years.