Design Thinking in action, Nueva Quest gives students the unique opportunity to pursue their own interests throughout their four years of high school. Working with their advisors and Nueva Quest teachers to identify and craft their own personal in-depth inquiry in a self-selected area of evolving passion or in pursuit of a deep question, they may elect to pursue one field of study over four years or to frame and complete a series of different Quests, each taking one or more years. Mentors, online resources, and internships support them in their improved mastery in their areas of passion while teaching them how to recruit mentors and navigate in the real world. Quest is an extension of the eighth grade Recital Project established more than twenty years ago, successfully completed by hundreds of Nueva students. Quest is a further sophistication and application of Design Thinking as students:

  • Identify needs and interests through reflection, observation, and inquiry.
  • Research to learn subject matter, identify experts, and locate resources.
  • Immerse themselves in deep thinking and empathy, developing deeper understanding of relevant information and user needs.
  • Invent a course of study and/or action, large enough to allow for innovation and bounded enough to allow for success.
  • Brainstorm potential obstacles and issues, analyze courses of action.
  • Prototype in a cycle that allows for incorporation of feedback on an iterative basis.
  • Persevere to accomplish their personal goals.  



View the 2016 Quest Expo Program.

Examples of Past Quest Projects  


For his Quest project, Xander designed and built a steam engine, combining his interests in designing machines with his desire to learn machining techniques.



Hilary explored her passion for juggling, focusing on elevated stages, creating her own juggling balls and learning new juggling skills.


Nachi learned to turn ideas into Python code, and to use that code to program computers to generate music.


Andrew designed a low-cost, easy to use 3D printer, The Pico 3D Printer, and is developing accompanying curriculum that teaches robotics within Common Core standards.


"The journey from thought to object is mesmerizing," says Jeremy, who built an electric scooter called the JETPack. "I have learned to create with more precision than I had ever thought possible."


Jessie's Quest -- to publish a paperback -- has just about reached fruition. She has produced a 320-page manuscript, fulfilling a lifelong dream.




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