GC Grade 9 "Design For Life"

July 09, 2021 | Girls’ College | Author: Mrs Peta Hanly

During the first half of Term 2, Grade 9 students were explorers on a journey of self-discovery. Their route took them out to Kamoka Bush School, where they embarked on an experiential learning pathway through the rugged but spectacular terrain of the southern part of the Waterberg mountain range. Here they underwent challenges that stretched their strength, piqued their interest, sparked their creativity and demanded their endurance.

During the 3 weeks that the other half of the grade spent onsite at St Stithians, they were equally challenged by the unique Design for Life (D4L) Programme that we developed for them. One half of this programme focused on preparations for Grade 10 subject choices. The other consisted of a design thinking project themed around the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), formulated to create a better and sustainable future for the planet. The aim of the D4L prog­ramme is to create an aware­ness of the SDGs and to encourage our students to join the global call to action. We identified six goals that we think speak to our students’ lived experiences and are the ones where they may be able to affect change:

  • Quality education (SDG4)
  • Gender equality (SDG5)
  • Clean water and sanitation (SDG6)
  • Affordable and clean energy (SDG7)
  • Responsible consumption and production (SDG12)
  • Climate action (SDG13)

The students adopted a Design Thinking approach to the problems. Various guest presenters were invited to speak with them about issues relating to the SDGs. Then students were invited to pick an area that particularly interested them. They were grouped into teams that then developed challenge statements by going through a process of empathy, definition and ideation. Their next step was to prototype their idea and test it on a user group. The culmination of the project was a Dragon's Den style pitch where they presented their ideas and prototypes to a panel of esteemed judges.

Many thanks to our mentors: Mrs Arguile, Ms Bibbings, Mr Bollweg, Mr Buchannan, Mrs Dennis, Ms El-Naddaf, Mrs Kaur, Mrs Lombard, Mrs Marais, Ms Moonsamy, Ms Myles, Mrs Shaw, Mr Sibeko, Mr Simango, Dr Taylor and Ms van Jaarsveldt. Mrs Hanly and Mrs Aitken were responsible for the development of the main programme, but many of our teachers developed, presented and facilitated skills development classes to instruct students on the real-world skills that were required to complete this project effectively.


The three top groups were as follows:

First place

Group 1, Team 7 (Mentor: Mrs Lombard)

SDG13: Climate Action

Idea: To develop a QR code for plastic cool drink bottles that takes users to a recycling ideas website. This website showcases 21 different ways that individuals can recycle their plastic bottles which included designs for eco-bricks, a broom, a scoop, etc.

Ashleigh Antoncich

Noa Baker

Ashley Byrne

Lauren Myers

Nicole Penberthy

Aerin Thom

Emily Weaver

Second place

Group 1, Team 2 – “The Quality Crew” (Mentor: Mrs Kaur)

SDG4: Quality Education

Idea: The self-named “Quality Crew” came up with an idea to deliver textbooks to High school students in township schools through an app using USSD technology. USSD technology can be accessed on all types of phones and does not use data. The aim is to have a database of books supplied by private school and outgoing students. A student in need can request a book through the app. The app will have different options such as grade, subjects etc catering to high schools. With help from an ABSA coder, the group developed the prototype for this idea.

Jayden Benard

Nadimba Juma

(Nadimba joined our school in May this year.)

Lintle Majake

Loatile Masondo

Izabella May

Reitumetse Mukwena

Sinqobile Sithole

Third place

Group 2, Team 2 (Mentor: Ms Moonsamy)

SDG4: Quality Education


Keira Benbrook

Leago Leballo

Tipho Magagula

Boitumelo Phaho

Emma Richard

Kayte Verpoort