Design Thinking: Design with Impact

Interdisciplinary Studies
Semester elective.

Design Thinking is a class intended to enable you to make your personal stamp on your Overlake experience.

The course is designed to introduce you to the IDEA Lab and to the mind-set and strategies that lead to successful exploration and innovation; the kind of work that is central to what the IDEA Lab is all about. Design Thinking is a course that will provide you the opportunity to be engaged in a process of research and innovation to craft a personal, in-depth inquiry into a self-selected area of interest, curiosity or passion. You will learn about the central elements of design-thinking and then use this approach to creatively address a problem or challenge you have identified, with the hopes of arriving at novel, sustainable solutions.

Design-thinking is experimental by nature, rooted in facing and tackling problems that truly impact humanity. Regardless of the subject of interest, developing your project will involve discovery, creative thinking, experimentation/prototyping, evaluation, and presentation. The course will introduce you to the components and traits of these steps with smaller, initial projects, all directing you to the development of your own work. Among the products you will produce will be a thorough portfolio chronicling your design-thinking process for your major project.

Two Examples of Design Thinking:

1.    The challenge: What can we do to make the Whitten Math and Sciences Center a true student hub at the Overlake School?

       The project involves the development and implementation of a business plan for putting a coffee cart into the new building

2.    The problem: Gender-based violence in Rwanda continues to be a problem despite noteworthy progress on addressing and eliminating the problem. In 2019 35% of women reported being victims of some form of physical violence.

       The project involves the design and prototyping of a bracelet that will notify/alert police or emergency facilities when the wearer is in a dangerous situation.


Middle School Speech & Debate

Interdisciplinary Studies
7th and 8th-grade semester elective. Students will be required to participate in one Middle School Debate tournament at Seattle University on a Sunday during the semester.

In this course we will focus on strengthening public speaking skills, research skills, building an argument with evidence, and rebutting an opponent’s argument. Students will have an opportunity to test out their skills by competing in a debate tournament. Students will be expected to research current events, work cooperatively in small groups and be willing to make their voice heard.

Engineering Design and Analysis

Interdisciplinary Studies
Full-year elective

Open to 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students who have successfully completed Algebra I.

See the Engineering Design introduction here.

Engineering Design and Analysis is a year-long course that offers opportunities for students to build creative problem-solving and engineering design skills, collaborate to solve complex, modern problems, and build a strong foundation for future learning.  This hands-on, team-based, inquiry-focused engineering design course provides meaningful learning experiences for students with diverse interests and learning styles. This class is open to students whether or not they are interested in becoming engineers.  Regardless of their future career plans, students will develop valuable critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as habits of mind that can be applied to any field. 

Students in Engineering Design and Analysis will work to discover the engineering design process, make data-driven decisions, and work in multi-level teams to solve complex problems.  Students will explore various fields of engineering through a series of design challenges that illustrate how engineering can improve people’s lives and health, meet the special needs of different customer groups, and even enable creativity.

Overlake students who take this course have the opportunity to earn college credit for successful completion of the course. To earn credit, please see the information below:

Optional University of Texas- Austin Credit

UT-Austin Equivalent Course- ES 301- Engineering and Design and Problem Solving (4.5 Quarter credits)

Cost- $300 (subject to change)

Course Description: This Course uses a unique, multi-level engineering design process, highlighting engineering’s potential to impact human lives.