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About Us

The Koalas are made up of seven smart and cool 4th grade designers.  We're called the Koalas because we are mostly all koala lovers.  Our team is very special, and our secret powers include fun awesomeness!  We like pizza, drama, video games, and winning.  If we could solve any problem or invent anything it would be drama becuase our school is completely full of drama.

Our Progress

Due Assignment Max Points Our Points
Jan 16
Good job! Remember these different types of design as you start thinking about possible projects--you may very well pick a project that can be addressed with one or more of these design areas!
Jan 27
1Welcome to DT Philly! Someone on your team must be a good artist--your koala is well drawn! Fun awesomeness sounds like a great secret power to have--we're sure that will help you be creative with your design project!
Jan 27
1This is a great example of two ways to be entertained electronically!
It looks like you found some creative ways to help Mr. Paddlepus! Did you build or design anything to move the balls across the room?
Jan 16
Feb 3
1This is an interesting problem and we like your "why." What are the biggest problems with the bathroom? And did you consider any other challenges before you decided on this one?
Feb 10
1When you are doing your observations, it might be helpful to check at different times of day and record how much trash or mess builds up and when. Are there certain times of day when the problem develops? Is one bathroom worse than another? Knowing these things can help you develop a solution that targets your specific problem. You might also want to make notes about things like where any litter or mess is relative to any trash cans, whether the trash cans are full or not, whether any supplies have run out (soap, paper towels), etc. You might learn lots of things that help you with your solution!
Jan 16
Feb 17
Feb 24
1You captured some great observations on your empathy map, and we love the little sketches you included. It sounds like you have a number of challenges including maintenance concerns and student behavior. This gives you a lot of territory to explore when thinking about solutions!
Jan 16
Mar 3
Jan 16
Mar 10
Mar 17
1Great job on your goalpost prototype! Did you get a chance to test it in one of the bathrooms to see if it helped reduce littering?
Jan 16
Mar 24
Jan 16
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Mar 31


The Design Thinker

An intrepid explorer with a treasure chest of strategies and tools, able to tackle problems large and small.


Kamkwamba Badge

William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi in a village that was suffering from drought.  At the age of 14, he read a book called Using Energy and was inspired to do something to help solve a problem in his village.  Using pieces of scrap metal he found in the junkyard, he built a windmill which generated electricity.  That, in turn, made it possible to operate a water pump.  His creativity and hard work made him an inspiration all around the world, and he went on to write a children's book about his experience called The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The Empathizer

A perceptive observer and listener,  able to understand what other people think and feel.


Born Badge

Eight-year old Lily Born noticed that her grandfather, who had a disease that made his hands shaky, often knocked over his cup and spilled what he was drinking.  Lily wanted to help her grandfather, so she came up with idea she called the Kangaroo Cup, a three-legged cup that didn't tip over and was comfortable to hold and use.  Lily experimented with the cup for many years, and now you can buy her invention online.

The Definer

A curious collaborator, able to ask great questions and driven to dig deep to find the root of a problem.


Silver Badge

Professor Josh Silver wanted to help people in poor countries who need glasses but can't get them.  In order to help, he had to do a lot of research and understand all the reasons it was hard for people to get glasses.  One thing he learned was that there aren't enough eye doctors in some parts of the world to figure out prescriptions for everyone who needs glasses, so he decided to design a pair of self-adjusting eyeglasses.  Once a person with bad vision gets these glasses, they put them on, play with the dials until they can clearly, and then they're good to go—no trip to the doctor required!

The Ideator

A bold and hardworking thinker, able to imagine lots of new ways to solve tricky problems.


Uncharted Play Badge

While visiting her cousin in Nigeria, 17-year-old Jessica Matthews noticed that the electricity would go out several times a day.  Later, as a student at Harvard University, Jessica and three classmates came up with an idea to design an energy-generating soccer ball for a school project.  The Soccket, as they named it, harnesses the kinetic energy generated by kicking the ball around and stores the energy in a battery that can power an LED light.  Matthews went on to start a company called Uncharted Play, which also makes an energy-capturing jump rope called Pulse.  

The Prototyper

An inventive builder, able to transform ideas into real objects or experiences with his own two hands.



Adidas has developed technology that allows them to turn the plastic trash that litters the ocean into thread, which they used to create a new running shoe called Parley.  The shoe is designed with an ocean green wave pattern.  The design team made many prototypes of this shoe in order to get the plastic material flexible and durable enough for everyday use.  One big challenge was getting rid of the dead fish smell that came with some of the recycled plastic that was once used for fishing nets.

The Tester

An open-minded experimenter, able to use what she sees and hears to make solutions even better.


Hövding Badge

Two designers in Sweden have invented an "invisible" bike helmet.  It looks a lot like a scarf that a cyclist wears around his or her neck.  If a rider gets into an accident, the helmet inflates to protect the person's head and neck.  The designers spent a lot of time testing their ideas by simulating icy roads and other common bike-crash situations to make sure their invisible helmet only inflates during a real crash and not during a bumpy ride.

The Presenter

A confident storyteller, able to clearly describe and explain what she wants people to understand.