Design Field Trips


Cooper Hewitt welcomes K-12 classes to experience design at the museum. Our field trips explore how design shapes and is shaped by our everyday lives. Students will be guided by a Cooper Hewitt educator through a tour of the museum’s exhibitions and collections, followed by a hands-on activity that immerses students in the design making process. Advanced registration is required for school groups visiting for educator-guided field trips. Availability is limited.

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Each Design Field Trip track is tailored by grade level to meet the needs of students in every stage of their learning journey. Each track has been developed to meet national and New York State Standards and is aligned with the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education framework. To review each track in more detail, please read the overviews below:

Track 1- Design Explorers (K-3rd): In this in-person field trip, students will practice their observation skills to discover that design is all around them! By looking closely at designs across exhibitions and doing a hands-on design activity, students will discover design elements such as size, color, and shape, and consider how these elements can help us design symbols that communicate and connect us.

Track 2- Communicating Via Design (4th-8th): How can design help solve problems and improve representation and access? In this in-person field trip, students will discover the power of symbols to communicate user needs and build community. Students will investigate examples of symbols from the Olympics and the 1972 Symbol Sourcebook in the exhibition Give Me a Sign and use design elements including shape, color, and pattern to create their own symbols that address a challenge in their school community.

Track 3- Designing Symbols for Change (9th-12th) How can communication design reflect a more inclusive world and inspire activism? In this in-person field trip, students will discover the power of symbols to meet the needs of users, communicate identity, and increase representation. Students will investigate examples of symbols in our world—from the accessible icon to emojis and the raised fist—and, using elements such as shape, color, and pattern, design their own symbols for change.

Please note: The grade level for each track is a suggestion. We are happy to offer any of the three tracks to accommodate the specific needs of your class.

Featured Image: Two students looking at a computer screen. One student is pointing at something they see on the screen.