Designing an end to opioid abuse

Ohio is facing a major opioid overdose crisis. Nearly seven Ohioans a day are lost in heroin and opioid-related deaths.1

Many schools have dealt with the fallout from this crisis. Today, we’re announcing a push to do more.

This year, many of our schools will plan and implement design challenges on understanding and eliminating Ohio’s opioid crisis.

What’s a design challenge? It’s a long term project where students learn their content by creating a new solution to a real-world problem. Design challenges offer an approach to problem-based learning that can go deep into content areas while offering students a wide range of questions to consider.

Throughout the year, we’ll be posting resources and events to support our schools through the process. Last week, we kicked off this push with a post from Aimee Kennedy, a former teacher and principal at the Metro Early College High School and a national expert on STEM.

Link to school participation formWould you like to join our schools in the school in the effort? Complete this form to let us know.

Below, you can find a few templates and we’re hoping to add more. We’ve pulled a few useful pieces from around the web. And we’ve created a Storify to track all your tweets, posts and pins about this important work.

Design challenge walkthrough with Aimee Kennedy

Image of Aimee Kennedy
Aimee Kennedy on your school’s first design challenge

A design challenge is a great way to engage students to use skills across disciplines to create solutions for real world problems. These projects can seem intimidating. They probably don’t align to  pacing guides or regimented lesson plans from five (or 15) years ago, but they are worth the early headaches. Watching as students grow as learners and as leaders is worth it.

Setting up a design challenge doesn’t have to be complicated – but it must be relevant to your community. Design thinking is deeply rooted in the principles and mindsets that innovators use to solve the problems—daily. The best solutions are never siloed in a single subject area. That’s why design challenges are a fantastic way to provide interdisciplinary learning opportunities for your students. The adults learn and grow as much as the students.


Just to make it easy, here are a few Word documents you can download and edit for your needs. Willing to share yours? Email them to [email protected]. We’ll add them here and credit your school.

Other resources

There are lot of different resources for design challenges. Here are a few of our favorites.

A Design Challenge to Students: Solve a Real-World Problem! by KQED
Design Thinking and Challenges by Inside the classroom, outside the box!
How to Design Right-Sized Challenges by Suzie Boss for Edutopia
Design Thinking: Lessons for the Classroom by Betty Ray for Edutopia
Design Thinking for Educators, a joint project by Riverdale Country Schools and IDEO
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