K-12 Lab Impacts Young Makers at this Year’s Maker Faire

Once a year, inventors, makers, and creative souls from the Bay Area and beyond converge on San Mateo for Maker Faire- the worlds largest DIY event. (Think Burning Man meets County Fair meets Revenge of the Nerds). For the second year in a row, the K-12 lab was there to represent the d.school and teach design thinking! This year, the booth was centered in the Young Maker’s hall, and participants were asked to take the “Designer Challenge”. Using a mad-lib style Point-of-View framework, the kids who participated randomly chose a user (Sponge-Bob, Cookie Monster, Cinderella, a Mom, a Policeman, etc) and an action (Baking a cake, going to the moon) and brainstormed solutions to help their user accomplish that action. After choosing their favorite brainstorm idea, participants cycled to the prototype table and built a model of their design!

It was great to see kids engaging a introductory taste of the design process, and inspiring to see how quickly “Human (or Muppet) centered design” clicked with them! As one fourth grade girl told her brother who tried to join her at the prototyping table, “You can’t start here- you have to get a user first and make something for them!”. Another design that stood out came from a 6 year old girl who was trying to design a better way for Obama to go to the moon. In her own words, “I’ll build an earth friendly spaceship that runs on pieces of chicken to help Obama go to the moon”. On the back of the spaceship was written, “Yes we Can”.

Design Thinking: Yes we Can!

Participants: Ben Grossman-Kahn, Ricardo Flores, Tony Schloss, Tiffany Tseng, Rachel Kalmar, Evie Kalmar