Design in the Classroom National

In 2011, we developed Design in the Classroom (DITC), a 45-minute in-school activity that introduces students of all ages to design by relating it to everyday life. Remarkably successful in New York City, the program is now being piloted nationally. Each year, we reach 3,000 underserved students in New York City and other cities across the country. In preparing for the upcoming national program launch, we worked with our stellar education committee—including accomplished designer Todd Oldham; Theresa Fitzgerald, Vice President of Creative, Sesame Street; and David Stark, David Stark Design—to redesign a reusable DITC classroom kit and create new online materials.

We do this because we believe that learning about the way designers think and creatively solve problems is particularly helpful for all young people. We have data that demonstrates that students exposed to design thinking have done better on standardized math and reading tests in the state of Texas.  Further, design’s focus on collaboration and empathy are just two of the links connecting design-based learning to 21st Century Skills, Common Core, STEAM, and College and Career Readiness. Through design, children learn to start critically thinking about how to make things better. Led by Cooper Hewitt experts, students are empowered to be civic leaders and social activists by acting and thinking like designers— approaching community design challenges not as roadblocks, but as a world of open possibilities and an opportunity to constantly question, “How might we…?”

We gratefully acknowledge the individuals and corporations who have generously provided support for Design in the Classroom.