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The Disston Dreamers Make a Wish Come True

Friday, September 15, 2017

A team of sixth graders took first place in the middle school division of DT Philly 2016-17 for their inventiveness and hard work in designing a solution for backpack and coat storage in classrooms at Hamilton Disston School in the Tacony section of Philadelphia.

Their design project started with a problem:  6th to 8th graders don’t have lockers, so they have to carry their backpacks and belongings with them all day.  During the research phase of their project, the Disston Dreamers documented several challenges resulting from this problem, including the fact that students’ backpacks clutter the floors and get stepped on in classrooms, and the fact that students suffer from back pain by the end of the day.

After learning why they couldn’t use the lockers in the hallways, the team focused on designing a classroom-based solution.  They experimented with different ways to create accessible storage in overcrowded classrooms, consulting with industrial designer Nick Friez as they advanced their prototypes.

With the grant they received for winning first place, the team was able to purchase materials to create storage units for all the sixth-grade classrooms!  They also planned to purchase some hooks to hang in closets for oversized coats.

A team of sixth graders took first place in the middle school division of DT Philly 2016-17 for their inventiveness and hard work in designing a solution for backpack and coat storage in classrooms at Hamilton Disston School in the Tacony section of Philadelphia.

Their design project started with a problem:  6th to 8th graders don’t have lockers, so they have to carry their backpacks and belongings with them all day.  During the research phase of their project, the Disston Dreamers documented several challenges resulting from this problem, including the fact that students’ backpacks clutter the floors and get stepped on in classrooms, and the fact that students suffer from back pain by the end of the day.

After learning why they couldn’t use the lockers in the hallways, the team focused on designing a classroom-based solution.  They experimented with different ways to create accessible storage in overcrowded classrooms, consulting with industrial designer Nick Friez as they advanced their prototypes.

With the grant they received for winning first place, the team was able to purchase materials to create storage units for all the sixth-grade classrooms!  They also planned to purchase some hooks to hang in closets for oversized coats.

The Disston Dreamers utilized all the stages of the DT process to find a desirable and feasible solution, and they enjoyed learning about design through DT Philly’s hands-on activities.  Team member Alexandra Platel explains that the project also taught the students an important lesson about persistence and creativity:  “When one way doesn’t work out, you will always find a new way to try.”  Collaboration is also critical, as teammate Julissa Cruz observes:  “Me and my team worked together and that is what matters the most.”

The Disston Dreamers utilized all the stages of the DT process to find a desirable and feasible solution, and they enjoyed learning about design through DT Philly’s hands-on activities.  Team member Alexandra Platel explains that the project also taught the students an important lesson about persistence and creativity:  “When one way doesn’t work out, you will always find a new way to try.”  Collaboration is also critical, as teammate Julissa Cruz observes:  “Me and my team worked together and that is what matters the most.”