Not only does DBL allow my kids to think creatively on a consistent basis, it allows them to take a subject like math that seems abstract and foreign to them, and turn it into something they’re actually building.”
Creative Thinking by Design
Design-Based Learning at Center X
Center for City Building Education
Southeast DREAMS Magnet (LAUSD)
San Gabriel Unified School District
UCLA Lab School
About Design-Based Learning
The Design-Based Learning at Center X Project applies and builds upon the Doreen Nelson Method of Design-Based Learning ™. Successfully taught in K–12 classrooms since 1971, this student-centered teaching methodology engages students in seeking and solving curriculum-based problems as they build a city or other small, contextual model in the classroom.
Design-Based Learning is structured around Essential Questions described in the standard K–12 curricula content. Encompassing all subject areas, Design-Based Learning is an interdisciplinary methodology that ignites creativity and motivates civic engagement to teach critical thinking and problem solving.
What Makes It Unique & Effective?
In a Design-Based Learning classroom, the teacher acts as a facilitator, observer, and guide. Students learn that their opinions count. They gain confidence in explaining and justifying their thinking as they try out ideas in a safe environment and find that there are many right answers and perspectives.
Design-Based Learning is a research-based methodology integrating civics and life skills to deliver the required K–12 curricula. Teachers have the flexibility to determine how and when to use a comprehensive sequence of connected, curriculum-related Design Challenges to teach the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, Visual and Performing Arts Standards, English Language Development Standards, California History-Social Science Standards Framework, etc.
The Design-Based Learning Project is proud to announce the publication of Cultivating Curiosity: Teaching and Learning Reimagined, written by distinguished educator, author, and Founding Director of the Design-Based Learning Project, Doreen Gehry Nelson. The book includes explanations of the methodology’s 6 ½ Steps of Backwards Thinking™ process as well as discussions on how to launch creative and critical thinking in students and the personal experiences of K-12 educators who practice Design-Based Learning in their classrooms.
Del Mar High School, SGUSD
The students are analyzing, thinking about what works best, and taking their learning seriously. I have never found anything that works better to engage learning than this methodology.”
4th Grade Teacher, Roosevelt Elementary, SGUSD