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The Arks

About Us

We have the brains for building ideas.  We never take mean comments to heart.  We love cracking jokes, and we have lots of passion for our projects.

Recent comments on our work:

1/11/19 · Assignment: Lessons Learned
Joann Girnius · The Greek Gods
cool
1/11/19 · Assignment: Lessons Learned
Joann Girnius · The Greek Gods
nice job
1/25/19 · Assignment: Design Concept Sketches
Darren Chen · The Greek Gods
Isn't their a chair already with a basket on bottom? I believe you should think of another idea for your chairs.
11/9/18 · Assignment: Our Design Challenge
Annabelle Auguste · The Smarties, Triple Threat
It is crazy that you do not have enough desks at your school and no place to put your stuff. I hope you can solve this soon.

Our Progress

Due Assignment Max Points Our Points
Sep 21
Sep 21
Sep 21
10
10Welcome to DT Philly! We're sorry you weren't able to log into your accounts when you did this, but you should be good to go now. It sounds like you are a can-do team with a lot of great strengths. We look forward to seeing what you do with your design project this year!
Sep 21
Sep 24
1
Sep 28
10
10Nice work with your drawings and explanations! People are always trying to improve upon phone case design, like this fellow: https://www.techradar.com/news/this-crazy-case-design-is-like-an-airbag-for-your-smartphone. We hope this activity and talking about the designs on the accompanying cards helped you understand that there is more than one way to achieve the same goal. This is a good thing to keep in mind when you're working on your DT Philly project. Also remember the needs of your audience when you're doing your design project. Their needs and preferences will help you make decisions about what is important to include in your design.
Oct 19
20
Oct 5
Oct 5
Oct 5
10
10You identified some interesting problems you see around you, and the one you picked for your project is important because it affects students at your school each and every day. We like the way you described the problem in your design challenge question without jumping ahead to a solution. You could even add the information you wrote under "why is this important" to your question to further explain your goal for this project. We'll be interested to hear what you learn from your research. Because this problem affects so many people, there will be lots to learn about! And as you learn more, you may find many ways to approach this problem besides getting desks back.
Oct 12
10
10It sounds like you have two problems...misplacing things and not enough work space for students in the classrooms. What do the 7th and 8th grade students currently have in their classrooms to work on? And is the misplaced work a separate problem, or is it related? We're interested to hear more about this...is it different in some classes than others, and how do people deal with the problem currently? Did something change, or has it always been like this?
Nov 2
20
20Thank you for taking the time to create user profiles for your project. Did your research reveal that all students think the same way about the desks, or are there some differences--maybe subtle ones--between what students think? For example, do some students like working together but also want more space? And is there anyone else who might be important to consider as a user for your project? For example, teachers who might want to have students work in groups? Understanding the needs of all different kinds of users will help you come up with creative solution ideas!
Oct 19
Oct 19
Oct 19
10
10You did a nice job observing all of the ways that students have of dealing with the problem, and it's interesting to learn that the change came about because the principal saw a benefit in having students work differently. Is there anything that teachers do to try to deal with the problem? As part of your research, you might want to take some pictures to document the problem and what people are doing. It will be good to have these when you present your project, and they might be interesting to other teams who are following your work on the website.
Nov 2
10
10It doesn't sound like you learned much new information in the past two weeks. How many students sit at each table? And how much room do you think each student needs in order to do classwork at a table? Is that need different from one classroom to the next (for example, do some require more books or paper than others)? It might be helpful to add some details to your understanding of the problem. And it might be interesting to talk to some students who use desks or other work surfaces to see if they have complaints or useful observations about surface space or storage space.
Nov 9
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Dec 7
20
Nov 16
Nov 16
Nov 16
10
10As part of making your discovery chart, did you identify any themes, needs, or insights you could brainstorm around? Maybe things like these: ways students can store their belongings during class, easy ways students can manage and access classroom materials at the tables, ways to keep the tables less cluttered/crowded, etc. You mentioned that people sometimes put their belongings on other tables. Are those tables that other students are sitting at, or are they empty tables? Also did you ever figure out if the work space problem is the same in every class, or do some classes require more books and materials, causing the tabletop to be more crowded? If it's only in certain classes, then that might give you something else to brainstorm around!
Nov 30
10
10It looks like you added a new need your solution can address--not just keeping the table surfaces uncluttered, but also reducing the amount of stuff students have to carry. As you move into prototyping, remember that you will want to test a couple of ideas to see what works best. It's a good idea to make your prototypes as realistic as possible so people will be able to use them and react to them. As you build and plan your prototypes, you'll see and discover things that will also help improve your ideas. We can't wait to see what you do next.
Dec 21
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Dec 7
Dec 7
Dec 14
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10Thank you for submitting your sketches. As you work on developing and testing your tabletop and chair prototypes, keep going back to what items students would store in your designs, how often they would get getting things out and putting things in, and where students store these things now. If they're kept in backpacks currently, is it easier to move them in and out of new storage spaces and then pack them back up at the end of class? Or are these things that might stay in the classroom and not have to be carried around? Will things end up in the shelf that don't belong there? The more you think about the habits and preferences of the students who you want to help, and the more you think through how your design might be used or misused, the better your solutions will be! We're excited to see what you do next!
Dec 21
10
10Nice job creating your rapid prototypes! It looks like you have two designs here: one that is open on all sides, and one that has an opening in the front. Have you moved away from the idea of having a hanging storage unit under tables? If so, what did you learn that led to that decision? We like the functionality of your prototypes--this will help you evaluate how well your ideas meet your users needs in a real world context. Keep up the good work and keep testing and refining your different ideas to see what works best for the greatest number of people!
Jan 11
20
Jan 4
Jan 4
Jan 4
10
10We're excited to see what happens when you test your two storage compartments! Will the same students get to test both prototypes to see which they like better? How long will students get to use each design? Will you explain the designs to your classmates or just see what they do without giving any instructions? And is there anything else you will look for besides whether the storage options are big enough and sturdy enough? If possible, you'll want to document your testing with pictures or video as well as observations. This will help you explain your work to the judges during your presentation. Be sure to get permission from people before taking pictures, and don't forget to make sure someone is writing down what happens--what do students do, what can you learn from their actions, words, or facial expressions? You might also want to talk to people after they try out your designs to get their comments and feedback.
Jan 11
10
10Nice work! Isn't it fun to see your prototypes in action! It's o.k. if your rapid prototypes aren't as durable as your final designs will be...they still enable you to see if you're on the right track with your ideas and see what needs to be improved. Did you find out if people had a preference for one design over the other? Or did you learn anything unexpected...maybe not all students felt the same way about the new storage options? After getting feedback from students (and maybe teachers?) on your prototypes, you'll want to take everything you learned and think of ways to make the designs even better (this is called iteration). We can't wait to see where you take your ideas next!
Jan 18
10
8We love the way you used what you learned to improve your design! Did your decision to create a compartment for small items like pencils come from feedback you received during testing? Besides being sturdier, does the wire basket offer certain advantages over the enclosed box prototype? We hope you're testing this new design with your peers to see how they feel about prototype 2.0. We'd also recommend getting feedback from teachers to see what they think. Does your design impact anything about how classes go from the teachers' perspective?
Jan 25
20
Jan 25
Jan 28
10
10Thank you for submitting your summary, budget, and implementation plan. We appreciate all you've done for this project in the past few months -- keep up the good work! Your next steps are to get your slides and display board ready, and to practice your presentation so you can tell the exciting story of your DT Philly project on the 6th!
Feb 4
10
10
Feb 4
20

Badges

Start-Up: Nike Grind Badge

Congratulations on your creative problem solving—an essential skill for every designer!  Innovations and break-through moments come when you think outside the box, like Nike did when they began recycling worn-out shoes to reduce the company's environmental impact.  The recycled shoes were ground up and used to create springy surfaces for athletic facilities.  For example, Sacramento Kings fans donated their sneakers to be used in constructing the team's new practice court.  Not content to stop there, Nike keeps developing new applications for this innovative product, and recycled material from Nike Grind is now used in 71% of the company's footwear and apparel!

Empathize: Hub of Hope Badge

Thanks for taking a walk in someone else's shoes.  Designers empathize to understand the needs of the people they want to help, just as SEPTA did when they agreed to collaborate with other agencies to serve homeless people where they already congregate...at Suburban Station.  Instead of kicking the homeless out, the agencies worked together to open the Hub of Hope, a site that functions as a daytime living room for homeless individuals, where they can socialize, get a meal, shower, do laundry, and access a variety of health and social services in a safe and welcoming setting.

Define: Embrace Badge

Nice work using your powers of perception!  Good designers keep their eyes and minds open so they don't miss key insights...just as four Stanford students did while creating a low-cost baby incubator for developing countries.  To learn more about the problem, team member Linus Liang traveled to Nepal.  His "aha" moment came when he discovered that hospital incubators often went unused because mothers couldn’t get to, or stay at the hospital.  The team realized they had to create something that could be used easily and affordably in homes, as well as in hospitals.  The team kept researching and learning throughout their design process to make sure their product met the needs of the people they wanted to help.  Since 2011 their solution—the Embrace Incubator—has helped over 200,000 babies in 20 countries.

Ideate: 40/4 Chair Badge

Way to get creative!  It's not always easy to see things with new eyes, and sometimes ingenious design is hidden right in front of you.  When was the last time you gave any thought to the humble stacking chair?  Designer David Rowland spent 8 years of his own time designing a chair that could be compactly stacked to fit the greatest number of chairs in the smallest amount of space.  He made 32 full-scale models in a quest to achieve the best form and greatest comfort, and he was rejected many times when he tried to license his final design for a chair that could be stacked 40 high at a height of just 4 feet.  But he persisted, and today his 40/4 chair is the winner of numerous awards, is showcased in museums around the world, and is a commercial success.  8 million and counting have been sold since 1964!

Prototype: Kenji Ekuan Badge

Well done! Prototyping takes patience and persistence, as Kenji Ekuan demonstrated when he and his team spent three years creating the iconic design of the elegant, tear-drop shaped Kikkoman soy sauce bottle.  Mr. Ekuan, an award-winning designer who also worked on the Yamaha YA-1 and the Komachi Bullet Train, is said to have tested over 100 prototypes before finalizing the design of the innovative and dripless two-sided spout—a design which works so well it hasn't been altered since it was introduced in 1961!

Test: MWOBS Badge

Now you know...testing's not just for school!  Designers know it's important to put their prototypes through rigorous real-world tests, which is why people who design products to function in extreme outdoor environments go to the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire, where the conditions are equivalent to what you’d encounter in Antarctica and the polar regions!  Clothing, experimental robots, and tents are just a few of the products to test their mettle against the mountain!

DT Philly Showcase: Es Devlin Badge

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.  Take a page from the playbook of renowned set designer Es Devlin and consider your presentation from the perspective of the audience.  How will they see, hear, and experience the story you want to tell?  Devlin, who has designed sets for Kanye West, Beyoncé, and Rihanna, as well as for fashion shows, plays, operas, and ballets, considers both the spirit of the performance and the experience that the audience will share.  What will bring your story to life and help you connect with your audience?

Collaborator Badge 0 of 4

To earn this badge, collaborate on a task with a mentor or design consultant.

Puzzle Progress 6 of 6