School Groups


Registration is closed for our virtual Design Field Trip programs from January 19–April 28, 2022. At this time, we will not be facilitating on-site self-guided visits or school-based pre-visit programs facilitated by a museum educator.


Design has the power to make change. We empower students to view the world optimistically through the lens of design and to apply design literacy to their everyday lives.

Learning Outcomes K–12

  • Observe that design is all around us
  • Discover design concepts, processes and design literacy
  • Play and experiment with hands-on design challenges and discover new techniques and tools inspired by experts in the field
  • Recognize design vocabulary terms
  • Discover the various design fields
  • Use Cooper Hewitt resources and collections as a point of inspiration

For grades 4-12, all of the above, plus the learning outcome below.

  • Apply design and design literacy into real-world design challenges and explore how to make change for the better through design.


Cooper Hewitt offers free, dynamic educational programs for K–12 school groups. Our 60-minute program is designed to align with city, state, and national learning standards. Drawing upon the museum’s exhibitions, design educators facilitate thoughtful discussions and activities focused on the process of design thinking.

  • Design Explorers (K–3)
    Younger students explore the impact of design on everyday life and tackle hands-on design challenges as they embark on a virtual journey from home to school.
  • Arts Integration: How Posters Work (4–8)
    From city streets to protests, concerts, and classroom walls, posters are all around us! Participants will explore posters as a tool for communication and learn how designers use form, color, image, and language to tell stories through design.
  • Arts Integration: Bias and Representation in Design (9–12)
    How do designers communicate, persuade, and protest through posters? Using a social justice lens, including historical context and contemporary examples of design, participants will be challenged to think critically about bias and representation in poster messaging. Students will apply what they’ve learned to create an impactful message of their own.


Visit our Design Field Trip FAQ page


Design Field Trips are made possible with major support from Siegel Family Endowment. Generous support is also provided by The Hirsch Family Foundation. Additional funding is provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Before Your Virtual Design Field Trip

Social Narrative

Prepare for your virtual Design Field Trip with our social narrative, an illustrated, step-by-step guide on what to expect during your 60-minute workshop with Cooper Hewitt. Our two-page, social narrative is available in color, as well as black and white.

Design at Home Pre-Visit Video

Our pre-recorded, Design at Home Pre-Visit video prepares students for the virtual Design Field Trip through an exploration of the design process, a warm-up activity and a quick brainstorming challenge to spark students’ creativity.

After Your Virtual Design Field Trip

Our post-visit extension resources engage students in a hands-on design challenge that connects to the key design concepts explored during the virtual program. While we are unable to prototype during the virtual field trip, we want to aid students in taking their ideas further.

Design Around Town Activity Book

Design is all around us! Engage in a fun, interactive introduction to design through storytelling as we follow 13-year-old Sofia through her hometown. From graphic design to transportation design, students will tackle hands-on, design challenges that explore a range of design disciplines. Design Around Town is available in English and Spanish.

Design Field Trip: Designing for Identity and Inclusion in Your Community

Take your Design Field Trip further! Explore icons, symbols, and logos to create a design of your own to represent a community you belong to. Recommended for grades 4–12.

Design It Yourself: Practice Design Observation

Practice observation, used in design, art, and science. Recommended for grades K–3.

Design It Yourself: Design A Poster

Cropped, square advertisement poster depicting a close-up of a pop-art style watermelon slice, with irregularly-shaped black seeds at the top, bright red-pink pulp at the center, and bright green jagged rind at the bottom. White text at left reads [COOPER HEWITT | DESIGN IT YOURSELF | Design a Poster].Use elements such as color, line, and composition to design a poster. Recommended for grades K–12.

ONLINE Self-guided Visits FOR GRADES K–12

Not able to join us for a virtual Design Field Trip? No problem. Our online self-guided Design Field Trips provide the perfect STEAM connection. Explore the effects of climate change and empower students to take action in their home, school or community.

Self-Guided Design Field Trip: Tropical Researchers

Engage in a self-guided Design Field Trip in collaboration with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute to explore how designers use nature to solve complex problems around us.

Self-Guided Design Field Trip: Design + Climate Change

Engage in a self-guided Design Field Trip. Explore climate change through a hands-on design challenge and learn how you can take action in your community.

Design It Yourself: Design a Green Roof

Design a green roof or roof garden that will help keep a city or building cool during the summer months.

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