Combat hate: use the engineering design process to design and test a space or experience that brings people together.
bringing people together | 3rd grade+
Take a close look around your neighborhood, your school, your city. Almost everything you see was designed and made by someone. Designed objects and spaces have the power to influence feelings, opinions, and thoughts. They can also bring people of diverse backgrounds and cultures together, and inspire change. Artists, designers, everyday people — and kids — have used their creativity to design art, sculpture, and spaces that encourage understanding of differences, and work toward combating racism and hate. What could you design to bring people together to increase understanding?
Ball Pit Conversations
In 2013, SoulPancake Street Team designed and built a conversation ball pit called Take a Seat, Make a Friend and placed it on the sidewalk for strangers to chat. They even placed conversation starter balls in their pit to get people talking about issues and ideas.
Lost and Found on a Fence
How can a chain link fence be transformed into an art exhibit that helps neighbors come together and share stories? Take a look at this Lost & Found Exhibit. It asks neighbors to consider their pandemic experience and answer the question: What have you lost, and what have you found in 2020?
What could you design and create that could bring people together, squash stereotypes and/or combat racism?
What could get two complete strangers to sit down and talk to each other and discover common views despite their differences?
These creative ideas all bring people together in simple and thoughtful ways to build community and connection. Inspired by their ideas, design a space, experience, or interactive object that brings people from diverse cultures and backgrounds together.
- What kinds of activities bring people together? When or where have you experienced connection with people you didn’t know well, or even at all?
- What groups of people will use your design? Will your audience cross multiple cultures, generations, or ideologies?
- How will your experience be interactive? What will participation look like and how will it lead to deeper understanding between participants?
Need more inspiration? Kids in a Washington, DC neighborhood created this “Write Kind Words” project which gives neighbors a way to express themselves in a positive and constructive way. Sidewalk art can stop you in your tracks…literally, and encourage you to think, talk, or laugh out loud.
Fighting hate through an interactive experience is no easy task! Try using the engineering design process, a step-by-step way to develop solutions to big problems.
- Define a Problem
What aspect of human connection, understanding, or animosity will you focus your efforts on? The problem you identify can be general or very precise, but be specific in your problem statement
- Develop a Solution:
Start by brainstorming lots of ideas. Then assess the strengths and weaknesses of all your ideas and try to narrow your focus. Are there aspects of multiple good ideas you can combine into one place? Can you draw inspiration from any of these examples?
- Build a Prototype:
You can approach a prototype or model in several ways: draw a detailed sketch of your ideas; create a small-scale model of your design; or build it full-size out of recycled materials like cardboard.
- Test and Improve:
It is important to test your design and determine whether it works the way you expect or want it to. Depending on the style of your prototype, testing might involve explaining your idea to others and asking for their feedback, or creating a full test of your interactive anti-hate experience. Test as many aspects of your design as possible, and do multiple rounds of testing to continue making improvements.
- Communicate Ideas:
Once you’ve tested your design, it’s time to put your ideas into action and share your story with the world. Can you upgrade your prototype to a larger scale or bring your improved sketches to life? How will you share your story and its impacts with others?
We want to hear all about your ideas and how you applied the engineering design process. Send your stories, pictures, or videos of your final design or process to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.