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The Problem Solvers

About Us

Hello! We are THE PROBLEM SOLVERS. Our team is made up of 4 smart fifth graders from Grover Washington Middle School. Our team is called the problem solvers because we are going to solve problems. If our team found a new planet, we would name it The Universe and all the people on it would play games together. The problem of bullying wouldn't exist on The Universe because our team would have solved it.

Our Progress

Due Assignment Max Points Our Points
Jan 19
Jan 12
1Welcome to DT Philly! Being able to solve problems is a great skill to have--we can't wait to see how you'll use that skill in your DT Philly project. If you need any help during your DT Philly project, just let us know. We look forward to seeing more from you soon!
Jan 19
1Good thinking! Pixar incorporates a lot of types of design, and they certainly do create experiences. Do you have a favorite Pixar movie?
Feb 2
Jan 26
1Littering and bullying are both very important problems! Don't worry about deciding on the solution just yet--you'll figure that out as you work on your problem. But it is important to focus in on one thing you want to work on, and addressing the problem of trash in the lunchroom is an interesting and specific design challenge to tackle!
Feb 2
1Nice job! It looks like there's a lot going on with the littering problem in your school. Has the school tried anything before now to try to improve this problem? For example, are there announcements, or posters, or reminders, or clean-up projects? Have you given any thought to how you can do some more research on this problem so you know as much as you can about WHY it happens before you try to solve the problem? There's a sheet called "Exploration Plan" in the back of your teacher's handbook (in the Appendix section) that you can use to help plan your research.
Feb 16
Feb 9
Feb 16
1It looks like you learned some interesting things by talking to different people. Did anything you learned surprise you?
Mar 9
Feb 23
1It looks like you had a lot of ideas--that's great. Unfortunately, we don't know what they are because this picture is blurry. Please submit clear pictures of your brainstorming ideas.
Mar 9
Mar 2
Mar 9
1Nice work thinking through the different steps of your initiative!
Mar 16
Mar 16
Mar 23
Mar 23
Please use or Google Slides or a similar platform to make your digital story of your project for the judges. Let us know if you need help!
Mar 23
There are feedback forms in the back of your handbook---we'd love it if you could fill them out and submit them. Thank you!


Design Thinker

An intrepid explorer, equipped with the skills and tools to conquer challenges large and small.

Project Start Up - SEPTA Hub of Hope

Congratulations!  You're starting to look at things like a designer.  Great design starts with seeing a problem or an opportunity, just as SEPTA did when they noticed a rise in the number of homeless people seeking shelter at Suburban Station.  In response, SEPTA teamed up with Project HOME and the city government to build a permanent Hub of Hope in the station—a center where the homeless can go during the day for a meal, a shower, to do laundry, and to get access to different kinds of health and social services.  Thanks to the hard work of these creative problem solvers, the Hub of Hope is scheduled to open in January 2018!


A perseptive observer and thoughtful listener, adept at understanding how other people think and feel.

Empathize - PariHug

Thanks for taking a walk in someone else’s shoes!  Designers empathize to understand what other people are going through so they can figure out how to help.  Knowing how hard it is to be away from people you love, especially when you need a hug, prompted college student Xyla Foxlin to look for a solution.  Her invention, Parihug, is a plush toy that connects to other Pari toys with an app.  When you hug your Pari, your friend's Pari vibrates to “hug” your loved one.  Pari operates over a wireless internet connection and is washable, so it’s easy to use and clean.  A $1,000 grant and a Kickstarter campaign helped Xyla start her company and bring Parihug to life!


An inquisitive investigator, driven to dig deep and discover the hidden causes of problems.

Define - Vibram

Nice work—good observation skills help you gather the information you need to solve your design problem!  Shoe designers learn a lot from seeing how people use their shoes and from noticing any problems they have.  Have you ever seen a shoe that looks and works like this one?  Inspired by Furoshiki, a Japanese cloth traditionally used to bundle clothes and other goods, Vibram designer Masaya Hashimoto created a shoe that wraps around a person’s foot.  The Furoshiki shoe offers a soft, customized fit that works for feet of all shapes and sizes, and it recently won an award from the Hong Kong Design Centre!


A creative and flexible thinker, brimming with imaginative ways to solve tricky problems.

Ideate - AP Thailand

Way to get creative!  It's not always easy to see everyday things or experiences with new eyes, but that's exactly what AP Thailand, a real estate company, did in a crowded neighborhood in Bangkok where there was no room to build soccer fields.  AP Thailand literally thought outside the box and designed non-traditional fields to fit into spaces that were considered unusable.  These unusual soccer fields are a hit with residents who now have a place to play their favorite sport.


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

Prototype - Sugru

Wow—you’re really flying now!  Building your ideas helps you learn what works and shows you where you can improve your designs.  Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh was studying product design at the Royal College of Art in London when she started experimenting with ways people could fix or improve things they already own instead of buying new things.  Jane’s invention, Sugru, is a shapeable glue that resembles Play-Doh but turns into durable rubber when it sets.  It’s been used for everything from fixing electronics and shoes to building a prosthetic foot for a chicken!  The seven years Jane spent developing and improving her idea paid off…TIME magazine named Sugru one of the 50 best inventions of 2010 (along with the iPad)!


An open-minded experimenter, dedicated to improving solutions through trial and feedback.

Test - Chavannes and Fielding Badge

Now you get the picture…testing is very important!  How else will you know that your idea actually works?  Consider the case of bubble wrap.  It was originally designed to serve as 3D wallpaper.  It didn’t succeed on that front, but its inventors Mark Chavannes and Alfred Fielding realized that their creation’s protective properties and light weight had other uses!  Three years after they failed as wallpaper designers, they founded the Sealed Air Corporation and made bubble wrap their signature product.  More than 50 years later, we’re still using bubble wrap for packaging and popping fun! 


A mesmerizing storyteller, inspired to engage and inform audiences through words and pictures.

Design Showcase – Field Trip to Mars

Hooray—you’ve made it to the final stage of DT Philly, and it’s time to think about how you’ll share the story of your design project.  What will help people understand?  Lockheed Martin, a company that makes satellites and space rockets, got creative when they wanted to show kids like you, who might be the first people to visit Mars, what it would be like to go there.  Using virtual reality, Lockheed Martin offered students a field trip to Mars—a virtual tour of the planet that you take by actually boarding a school bus and driving around!  Take a page from Lockheed Martin and think about how you can bring your story to life!

DT Philly Puzzle 7