Actions of Innovation

Implement: Launch Your Design

Grades 9-12
English Language Arts, Social Studies

Driving Question

When working through the “Implement” phase of an innovation journey, how can students implement a design to address an uncovered need or problem? 

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
  • Understand how monuments/memorials help people remember major events and teach others about them.
  • Identify a social justice issue, learning about its major people and events.
  • Design a monument/memorial to represent and memorialize a social justice issue.
  • Implement a design by constructing a model of a monument/memorial.

Why This Matters

After working through the innovation process, students are often most excited to arrive at the “Implement” phase. This phase can look different depending on the type of innovation in process—implementing a social innovation process may look different than the launch of a technological innovation. Sometimes, implementing might take the form of an entrepreneurial venture. Remind students that innovation can be having a brand-new idea. Other times it might be looking at the objects, systems and processes around you and wondering how they could be done better. For this activity, students will implement by presenting a model of a monument/memorial to represent the culmination of an innovation journey.


C3 Framework: D2.Civ.12.9-12, D2.His.7.9-12, D2.His.14.9-12,  D2.His.16.9-12, D4.3.9-12.

Prep Activities

Students will view The Henry Ford’s images of historic monuments and memorials, discussing what elements each has that make it a powerful monument/memorial.

Core Activities

Formative Performance Task:

Students will identify a specific social justice issue/topic and design their own monument/memorial to represent it. Students will research this topic (Uncover) to a specific need of a community/government in creating a monument, identify (Define) important people and events that should be included in the monument/memorial (Design). Students will receive feedback on their design (Optimize) and then build or draw a model (Implement).

If teachers prefer to save time, they could provide the topic and research for the students. In addition, the monument/memorial topic could be for other content/interests such as, a favorite sports player, a hometown hero, a local event, or any number of topics.

Post Activity

Students will present their model, explaining how their design best represents the major people and events of the issue.

Model i

Throughout this lesson, there will be opportunities to practice and develop Model I’s Habits of an Innovator and Actions of Innovation. Listed below are the Habits and Actions that students will be developing and practicing.

Developing Habits of an Innovator

  • Stay Curious
    Students will choose to explore and research a social justice issue.
  • Collaborate
    Students will work together to design and build a model of a monument/memorial to best represent a social justice issue and teach others about it.
  • Challenge the Rules
    Students will challenge the rules as they discover new ways to design a monument/memorial. 
  • Be Empathetic
    Students will gain understanding of a social justice issue and use this perspective to enlighten others.

Practicing Actions of Innovation

  • Design
    Students will design a model of a monument/memorial to best represent a social justice issue and teach others about it.
  • Implement
    Students will make improvements to their design and build a model of a monument/memorial to best represent a social justice issue.

Prep Activities

Explain to students that monuments and memorials are important ways for communities to commemorate, teach and inform about important events. They might raise awareness and promote empathy and understanding. Features and elements of a monument/memorial are all carefully selected to meet the needs (or goals) of a community. 

Working in small groups or as a class, look at The Henry Ford images of memorials and monuments. Ask students the following questions:

  • What do you think is the goal or purpose of this memorial/monument?
  • Which aspects or features of the memorial/monument are appealing and why? 
  • Do any aspect or feature illicit an emotional response?
  • Which aspects or features are unappealing and why?
  • Is the location symbolic? Are the material used symbolic?
  • What information are you able to learn about the person/event from the memorial/monument?
If the teacher would like, they may show students images of newer or more modern memorial/monuments.

From The Henry Ford:
  • Abraham Lincoln by Daniel Chester French
    • In 1911, Congress formed a Commission to create an appropriate tribute to Abraham Lincoln in the nation's capital. The commissioners determined that this tribute should be a symbolic rather than literal representation. Sculptor Daniel Chester French's statue idealized Lincoln's memory by revealing his "essential nobility." After delays in completing the statue, the Lincoln Memorial was finally dedicated in 1922.
  • Wright Brothers Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
    • This monument marks the spot where Wilbur Wright assembled the Wrights brothers' first experimental glider in 1900. The marker was the brainchild of William Tate, who hosted the brothers on their visits to North Carolina. Funds for the monument were raised entirely by the citizens of Kitty Hawk, ensuring that it was a local tribute to the pioneering aviators.
  • Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
    • During the 1909 centennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth, Congress found itself in the embarrassing position of lacking plans to honor Lincoln in the nation's capital. In 1911, a Commission was formed to create an appropriate tribute. The resulting Lincoln Memorial, dedicated in 1922, idealizes Lincoln's memory in a Greek temple-like structure that symbolizes the democratic principles for which Lincoln stood.
  • Gettysburg Memorial to the Michigan Cavalry Brigade
    • The soldier figure on this Michigan Cavalry Brigade Monument looks out over the Gettysburg battlefield where this brigade fought fiercely on July 3, 1863, helping assure Union victory. A number of the surviving veterans attended the monument's dedication in June 1889. Did one of them ask Gettysburg artist Jessie Zinn to paint it? Coincidentally--Zinn was born on a farm outside town the day after the battle. The Gettysburg battlefield monument depicted in this painting honors the Michigan Cavalry Brigade. The figure of the soldier looks out over the field where this famed unit fought fiercely on July 3, 1863 to help assure Union victory on the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Their commander was 23-year-old Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer, promoted only three days before. Gettysburg was the Michigan Brigade's first major engagement. This "Wolverine Brigade" fought in every major campaign of the Army of the Potomac, from Gettysburg to the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House in April 1865. A number of the surviving veterans were present at the monument's dedication in Gettysburg on June 13, 1889. Jessie Zinn created this painting of the monument soon afterwards.

Core Activities

Formative Performance Task:

Students should work collaboratively in small groups. Ask students to identify a specific social justice issue to design a memorial/monument that commemorates and informs about this issue. This can be completed within the context of a civil rights unit or a current events course. If working with limited time, teachers can also assign specific issues to groups and provide research on the topic. Or students may choose a topic they are knowledgeable about.

They can brainstorm ideas and draw rough sketches of their ideas. Remind students that no idea is a bad idea. Often the most creative ideas can lead to more realistic ideas.

Ask students to identify:

  • The purpose of the memorial by “uncovering” the needs of the community. Is the goal to educate? Memorialize? etc. 
  • At least one person who embodies the social justice issue. A group of people may also be included.
  • At least one event from the social justice issue to highlight and teach about.
  • Content that will be displayed—photos, quotes, text—to educate visitors to the memorial.
  • A specific location to place the monument/memorial. This should be significant/representative to the issue.
  • Materials to construct the monument/memorial from. These should be significant/representative to the issue.

Share out:
Reassign groups so one person from each working group is in a new group together. Students should share their ideas and plans, then provide feedback to others. Students can take the feedback to their home groups and optimize their plans.

Using poster boards and other craft/recyclable materials, students should build a model of their monument/memorial. If time is limited, a 2D drawing with details and descriptions can be created. Allow students to be creative and inventive. Encourage them to use color and unique materials.  

As students work through each part of the project, encourage them to reflect on how they are using or might use the Model i Habits and Actions to guide their project building.

Post Activity

Summative Performance Task : Presentation
Finally, students will share their models with the class. They may write a script or use notecards. Students should highlight the major features of the monument/memorial, specifically addressing why they chose the person, events, locations and text.


Common Core State Standards In English Language Arts

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-12.1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics, texts and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task. 
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. 
Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. 

College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards

D2.Civ.12.9-12. Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
Explain how the perspectives of people in the present shape interpretations of the past.
Analyze multiple and complex causes and effects of events in the past. 
Integrate evidence from multiple relevant historical sources and interpretations into a reasoned argument about the past.
Present adaptations of arguments and explanations that feature evocative ideas and perspectives on issues and topics to reach a range of audiences and venues outside the classroom using print and oral technologies and digital technologies.