Student design goes to the next level

Students are empowered to change gear in design thinking and produce clever, innovative works of art ⎮ 2 min 30 sec read

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This is Part Two of a Two Part series written by Joanne Saville, Creative Arts Leader at Genazzano FCJ College. In Part One, a teaching strategy was developed to assist students improve their design skills. Here, we see the application of theory translated into effective classroom practice.

Pre-activating Strategy

The original design task (Task 1) required students to design a museum poster for the exhibition ‘Insectropolis’ featuring minibeasts. The brief for Task 2 was to create a bag design that emphasised the notion of the insect museum as a part of science. The bag design could use humour, social conscience, satire or emotional links to convey the message. 

To challenge students to broaden their ideas and increase creative output, I implemented a ‘Forced Connection’ activity, which is about combining very different ideas to form an original concept. This activity is designed to serve as the pre-activating strategy to guide student learning (PEN Principle #12, as discussed in Part One). Students were tasked to connect science imagery and insects for the new design. The ideas were developed using scientific words to link to the minibeasts, various sketches and annotations. They chose the design that would work best for the bag.

Intervention Process

Post Intervention Data


The results of this exercise were creative, innovative and met the brief by celebrating science and insects as a visual communication. Students now have this creative thinking routine as part of their toolkit to use in future design tasks.

Impact of the intervention

At the time of the intervention, the students were reluctant participants but once they started the process they began to produce many ideas to suit the brief. Once students began drawing, they were very much on task during the process. Students felt comfortable with using the routine and felt they would use it again to open up their design thinking

The final results were all innovative and received positive feedback. Some students had so many great ideas, they found it difficult to choose the final design for their bag. 

Final thoughts

The student process and results showed that creative thinking as a tool was able to be used by students to enhance design. Measuring the impact this design thinking routine had on our students' creativity, suggests there are real opportunities for students to develop a toolkit of 'go to' thinking strategies to push ideas further. 

The College continues to work with the Science of Learning principles, ideas and strategies. Creative thinking will be embedded into our Visual Communication Design curriculum at all year levels to enhance the students' ability to develop highly innovative, clever and unique designs.

Joanne Saville

Curriculum Leader Creative Arts, Genazzano FCJ college

I am a passionate educator of the Visual Arts and strive to improve its standing within the curriculum. Arts education is important in our future developing creative, imaginative and passionate humans.