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How might we re-design our classroom?

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Design Age Level Middle School (13 to 15 years old)

This collection begins with the analysis of a series of images from 19th and 20th century classroom settings. Next, learners will apply Agency by Design thinking routines to explore elements of their own classroom that could be re-designed. Learners will go through the design process to: 

  • identify the precise challenge
  • brainstorm a solution, and
  • create a prototype.

This lesson introduces the design process to learners through a familiar system, the classroom. It allows for learners to collaborate in the improvement and re-design of their own learning environment, while taking into account the needs of other users of the space. 


This collection was created as an example used in the "Smithsonian Learning Lab, Focus on Design" session at the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA) Arts Integration Learning Institute. 

The Schoolroom

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Design Process

Cooper Hewitt Education Department

Five students around a table

Archives of American Art

School Classroom

National Museum of American History

[Classroom interior, Washington, D.C.] [cellulose acetate photonegative]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

[Children in a classroom with teacher: b&w photoprint]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Jaime Escalante

National Portrait Gallery

[Howard University classroom scene : acetate film photonegative, ca. 1930s.]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

[Classroom, young children] [cellulose acetate photonegative]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Imagine If…: Project Zero Agency by Design Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access

Look to the right -->

Ashley Naranjo

Look to the right -->

Ashley Naranjo