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Frequently Asked Questions

Will this be too complex for my Kindergartener or too simple for my 8th grader?

Not at all!  This program is designed to be open-ended to support learners at varying levels of maturity. We bring big ideas to a younger audience in a makerspace studio environment that is friendly and stress-free.  We encourage independent thinking, self-directed learning, exploration, iteration and creativity.  We ask thinkers to make and makers to think through safe exploration where there are no wrong answers. We layer technical information in a makerspace way – through building, drawing and talking about our ideas.

Why such “big problems”?  My child likes crafts and making things but doesn’t want more “school” after school.

Neither do we! We are motivated toward making and tinkering. We will be making models, drawings, books, board games, cities, animal habitats and more as we explore all aspects of the built environment.  When we find surprises in our research, we will explore them through making. “Big problems” serve as the real-world framework to guide decision-making and introduce the concept of civic responsibility and societal engagement – a role often played by the architect. We’re not planning to solve the world’s problems; however, big problems bring big ideas and kids are capable of incredible things when given adequate time and space.  The goal of the studio workshop is to encourage each student to develop a process for making decisions (big and small) and to cultivate a level of comfort for giving and accepting criticism in an environment of self-discovery and thoughtful guidance.

Where did the idea for Wicked Workshop come from and who’s teaching it?

Phyllis Henderson (Fifi) is a mom, architect and educator.  As a mom, she spends a lot of time looking for opportunities for her girls to build self-esteem, independence and critical thinking skills.  As an educator with a PhD in architectural history and theory, she knew that Design Thinking was being used outside of professional design practice to help resolve issues in multiple industries including business and societal sectors.  Design Thinking is a non-linear, strategy-based process for problem solving that tackles issues through empathy and iterative hands-on making. It was developed by Stanford University’s “d” school for people in business, higher education, the public sector and K12 education as a process to create real change. As an architect, Fifi recognized this methodology as a direct extension of her traditional university architecture school curriculum and decided to scale that learning experience for kids. 

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