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Stepping It Up

About Us

Hello! We are Stepping It Up. Our team is made up of five wonderful fifth grade students from the Grover Washington Jr Middle School. Our team is called Stepping It Up because we could not agree on any other name. If our team found a new planet we would name it Legacy and all the people on it would be rich. The problem of being poor wouldn't exist on Planet Legacy because our team would have solved it!

Recent comments on our work:

3/2/18 · Assignment: Meet the Team
Kyla Williams · Stepping It Up

Our Progress

Due Assignment Max Points Our Points
Jan 19
We're so glad you had fun with this! It's a great way to exercise your creativity "muscles"--so feel free to play it throughout DT Philly! What were some of the creative ideas your team had?
Jan 12
1Welcome to DT Philly! We're excited to have you on board, and we look forward to seeing the great work your team will do. Please submit a picture for your team--if you aren't sure how to upload it, let us know or email it to us!
Jan 19
1Game controllers are an interesting design example, because they represent a few types of design! Many things you see around you, especially in our technology-driven world, incorporate several areas of design including industrial design, experience design, and system design.
We're glad to hear that you enjoyed this activity. Collaboration (sharing ideas and working together) is an important skill for designers to have! We would love to see what designs you sketched. Would you be able to share some pictures with us?
Feb 2
Jan 26
1You've identified some important problems that impact your experience in school every day! Promoting recycling is a great problem to tackle for your project. We like that you're focusing on a specific place where it happens--the 5th-grade hallway and that you have a really specific goal for what you want to see change--reducing waste. This helps focus your project. As you move forward with your define and ideate phases, make sure to keep your how might we question in mind. It will help keep your project focused, and let you check back to make sure solution ideas are solving the problem you want to solve!
Feb 2
1Observation is a great research strategy for your problem: promoting recycling. While talking to people is important, observing will help you dig deeper and see what actually happens--for example, some people might say they recycle but not know what items go in which bin! Talking to experts--like your janitor and your principal will help you understand how recycling works now. Perhaps there's something that has been tried before that you don't know about! Talking to your users (the people who experience your problem) is also important. It seems like you've identified some great questions to ask all of these people, as well as some great goals of what to learn from your observations. We're excited to see what you learn from your research!
Feb 16
Feb 9
1It seems like your team really cares about the impact littering has on your school and community, but a lot of your findings seem very big-picture. Since littering is such a big problem, it may be helpful to focus your project on one time or space where the problem occurs. Did you find a place where littering seems to happen the most? Do you know why people are littering? If you have time, try out some other research methods, like observing a place where littering happens, or speaking with an expert on the problem. Did you draw any other conclusions? Getting people to dispose of trash properly is a great goal, Is there anything else you think your solution might need to do based on your research?
Feb 16
1Nice job gathering all of your research together! Unfortunately, your picture is fuzzy so we can't read what you learned and what you're conclusions are about how the situation could be improved. Could you please upload a clearer photo? You can even take a photo of each section of the empathy map so you don't have to be as far away!
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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 1