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Students build their own questions for final exam
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Design Fundamentals Project:  What questions would you like to see on the exam?

To create questions that demonstrate critical thinking.
To create questions that can be used to asses students' application of course topics

Preliminary: Time: 10 minutes
I showed the videos from
I challenged students to a a vocabulary race to self organize themselves and a strategy and write the vocabulary for the term on the board.
The words became a review as of most of the terms for the semester were written on the board by the students and discussed.


Instructions: Time: 15 minutes
I asked students to use the vocabulary to craft one question for the final exam that was challenging, yet that they felt confident to answer.  Students were to discuss their questions with the other students at their table to get the best version of the question and to avoid overlapping questions.

Student Comments
Here are some of the most interesting questions:

1. Illustrate something that incorporates both of these concepts:  abstract and focal point.
2. Illustrate 2 elements and one principle.  Explain how these 3 relate to your field of study.
3. In psychology Gestalt means something that is made of many parts and yet is somehow more than or different from the combination of its parts.  Briefly explain how you have experienced the feeling of Gestalt during the course when several or many pieces came together to create new meaning or feeling of usefulness for you.
4. Give an example of how a design element or principle can be used in as part of another element or principle. One example answer to this question is how value plays an important part in aerial perspective (element "space") because objects in the distance are lighter (in the element "value").
5. Name 3 or more elements and principles are going to help you the most in your future career. Briefly explain why these 3 are most important to your future creative production.
6.  Draw a simple design.  Using the same elements of the first design draw a second, more dynamic or dramatic design.  Write a sentence explaining the story or mood of the first design contrasted to your resulting revision.  This question requires 2 drawings and one sentence for an answer.

Reading and answering the questions: Student-Lead Review
Students then stood up and read their question to the class and students attempted to answer the questions of their peers.

Teacher reflection:
This was a fascinating project inspired by a twitter post about the new Warren Berger book, A More Beautiful Question.
Many students came up with typical exam-type questions but the questions above went beyond the level of true-false, multiple choice, or fill in the blank.  Since one of the criteria for the questions is that the students felt confident to answer them these questions gave me a good assessment of the critical thinking resulting from the semester's work.  I think working questioning deeper into the curriculum is a great strategy.  I am reading Burger and Starbird The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking and questions is the one of the 5 elements. In summary I am learning more about the role of questions in learning.  Specifically, I am increasingly able to use the Socratic method to inspire Socratic questioning in the students as part of who they are as active learners.


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