Student & Teacher Resources

For students

Need help getting started?

Here are some resources to ignite your creative thinking:

Online Design Process Q&A Session

Need help navigating through the design process? Take a look at this video from our January 17 Design Process Q&A session with Target designers!

Brainstorming Tips:

  • Remember: disabilities come in many forms. They can be physical, cognitive, or sensory, or have a combination of effects. They may be related to age, caused by an illness or injury, or be something a person is born with. Disabilities may be permanent or temporary. Your design can focus on any aspect of a disability. Visit the Smithsonian Learning Lab to see how other designers have solved challenges in accessibility.
  • Start by thinking about what you do everyday. What objects do you use on a daily basis? Where do you go? How do you get there? How might people of varying abilities find this place, activity, or object challenging?
  • What are some approaches already in use to make daily activities easier for all users? How might these approaches be improved? What are some new ways to address these challenges?
  • It may help to think about people in your life—your family, your friends—who might you know that has encountered challenges carrying out daily activities because of limitations in a design? This could be in any setting—from going to school or work, to using objects at home, to communicating with family and friends. How might you improve their access? And how might that benefit people on a broader scale?


For teachers


Thanks! You can download this poster for your classroom or school bulletin board.

I want to make this a class project.

Great! We have created a lesson plan and resource documents below for you. Follow the lesson step-by-step or utilize what fits with your needs. PLEASE NOTE: Individual and team entries will be accepted for the competition, but team size is limited to three students.

Please email us to let us know that you plan to use the design competition in your classroom and to stay up to date on the competition timeline.

Smithsonian Learning Lab

Check out some of the ways that designers featured in Cooper Hewitt’s collection are solving accessibility challenges by learning more at the Smithsonian Learning Lab! Teachers, you’ll also find all your resources here.