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A Multigrade Design Project 


two girls coloring on paper in classroom


Multigrade learning promotes empathy and collaboration! Middle School Design Teacher Carla Staffa and Junior Kindergarten Teacher Linda Kim brought their students together to practice design thinking. The junior kindergarten clients described the monster stuffies they wanted the middle school textile and fashion designers to create. The clients practiced explaining what they wanted: a stuffy monster with seven eyes or two mouths or a yellow body or wearing a pink dress. The designers practiced listening and clarifying their clients' vision.


Then the fun of making began! Designers referenced client interviews and monster sketches to sew imaginative stuffies. Designers paid attention to detail, even replicating overlapping scribbles and shapes using different sewing techniques. Once all stuffies were stuffed, the middle school design class invited the junior kindergarteners to meet their stuffies. The two groups wrapped a final feedback interview and the designers made a few modifications to meet client requests. 



The monster stuffies project demonstrates the value of multigrade learning. The junior kindergarteners and middle schoolers both helped the other practice essential design and social skills.