Asee peer logo

Teaching ’Diversity in Design' and the Design-thinking Process Through Hands-on, In-classroom Prototyping (Resource Exchange)

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Pre-college Engineering Education Division Technical Session 14

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


D'andre Jermaine Wilson-Ihejirika P.Eng. BrainSTEM Alliance

visit author page

D'Andre Wilson-Ihejirika completed her B.Eng in Chemical Engineering at McGill University and her MASc. from the Centre for Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship (CMTE) at the University of Toronto. She worked for several years as a Professional Chemical Engineer in the Athabasca Oil Sands, before taking a Project Management role in Research & Innovation at York University.
D'Andre is the founder the STEM education consulting initiative, BrainSTEM Alliance, whose vision is for every person to have the opportunity to be empowered by Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
D'Andre is also the co-founder of a non-profit in her home country of the Bahamas called BETA, Bahamas Engineering & Technology Advancement.
D'Andre has won multiple awards including Toronto's Centre for Social Innovation 'Agents of Change' in 2011, Alberta Venture's 'Next 10' award in 2013, Top 50 under 50 for YMM Magazine in 2017 and SunCares Changemaker in 2019.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The purpose of this activity is to help students understand the importance of empathy for a customer in design, as well as understanding how diversity can help create more innovative products. This activity will introduce the design thinking process, while also allowing fostering awareness of the importance of diversity. The activity is targeted towards grades 6-8 students (ages 11-14) but can be adjusted and modified for younger or older audiences. Students will be introduced to the steps in the design thinking processes as well as some of the challenges currently faced in design for diverse populations. Students will then be split into groups and randomly assigned a ‘task’, a problem they need to solve, as well as a ‘customer’, who they are solving the problem for. Students will have the opportunity to go through the steps of the design thinking process to build a prototype. Materials for the prototype can include different materials available to the teacher and can be modified accordingly. The project could also be extended into a longer exercise where students have the opportunity to go out into the community and test their prototypes with potential customers, or scaled into an entrepreneurship activity where students launch their product as a business idea.

Wilson-Ihejirika, D. J. (2020, June), Teaching ’Diversity in Design' and the Design-thinking Process Through Hands-on, In-classroom Prototyping (Resource Exchange) Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35269

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015