Investigation - The Creative Sequence - futurePREP'd - Career Tech Ed/Early College - Programs & Services - OAISD Home


After students have been introduced to the unit of instruciton through a driving question and an entry event and have had a chance to discover their own and other's strengths, they will proceed through the Investigation Stage. This is comprised of:

Setting the Stage for Investigation

Identifying what students know and need to know related to the driving question, how their final solution should feel or look, and who the stakeholders are related to the driving question.

Gaining Empathy

Getting students to understand how others are effected by the driving question and their potential solution(s).

Gaining Insight

Having students explore the problem using a variety of resources and from a variety of angles.



Empathy Map

This is a great strategy to help students develop empathy for the person that they are developing a solution for related to the driving question.  In general, students explore what the person "thinks", "sees", "says", "does", and "feels" and then think about how this influences any possible solutions they may come up with.
Overview of Empathy Map 


Based upon the driving question they are presented with, students envision an "ideal future" using words and pictures. Based upon this ideal futures, students look for ideas or solutions related to the driving question.
Overview of Storyboard

Interviews and Extreme Users

Interviews with the actual people or users that are affected by the driving question is especially critical. It is important to understand their thoughts, emotions, and motivations in order to develop an effective solution to the driving question. It is especially helpful if students are able to talk with "extreme users" (individuals who are the most affected by the driving question) in the interviews to obtain their ideas and perspective.
Overview of Interview & Extreme Users

Visual Glossary

This is a great strategy for defining words/terms related to the driving question visually so that students have a common vocabulary. Over the course of the project, a visual word wall could be constructed which features all of the important/central words and terms related to the driving question.
Overview for Visual Glossary

Character Profile

This strategy is used to create a "character" based upon insights students have collected related to the people or users that are affected by the driving question. By focussing on one specific character, students can better evaluate whether the solutions they are developing will be useful or the most effective at addressing the driving question.
Overview of Character Profile

Mood Board

Within this technique, students create a poster or a collage that captures the overall "feeling" or mood that they would like their final solution to have. The poster can serve as inspiration or something to check against as students are developing solutions to the driving question.
Overview of Mood Board

The 4 C'S

This is a protocol in which students explore what they know about the driving question in terms of "Components" (parts of the driving question), "Characteristics" (features of the driving question) , "Characters" (users or people affected by the driving question), and "Challenges" (obstacles associated with the driving question).    
Overview of the 4 C's


Through this method, students explore what the pain (e.g. - What does a bad day look like for this person?  What are they afraid of?) and gain (What does the person want?  If we solved the driving question, how would the person benefit?) is for a user or person affected by the driving question.
Overview of Pain-Gain

2 X 2 Matrix

By looking at products, components, etc. related to the driving question on a 2x2 matrix (e.g. - cheap versus expensive and easy versus hard) students can begin to uncover different ideas and solutions that may be more effective at addressing their driving question.
Overview of 2x2 Matrix


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For more information, please contact one of our staff members:
David Searles
Associate Superintendent
Careerline Tech Center
Susan Tater
Careerline Tech Center
Nicole Gitler
Program Developer
Careerline Tech Center
Denise Smyk
Program Developer
Careerline Tech Center
Kari VanderVeen
Administrative Assistant
Careerline Tech Center
Melissa Bultema
Specialist/Early College
Careerline Tech Center
Caleigh Dick
Careerline Tech Center
David Ladd
Career Development Facilitator
Careerline Tech Center