STEM Storage Project: Where does it all go? (from L&N STEM Academy)

STEM PROJECT: “Where does it all go?” Building personal storage capacity in the L&N

Task and audience: You have been hired as junior designers by Johnson & Galyon, the contractors employed to convert the L&N to a usable school space. They need you to research and propose a design for student storage spaces in the Station building. The top vote getters in each STEM section will present their proposals to the Johnson & Galyon construction foreman and his selected crew in two weeks.

Purpose: To apply the principles of design, prototyping, and testing to arrive at a 3 – 5 minute presentation to a construction crew with the hopes of getting your idea built.

Curricular ties: This project will utilize learning in Algebra and Geometry classes in measurement, spatial design, and capacity. It will tie into content in Physics in material strength and characteristics of support structures. You will also utilize Language Arts in preparing a proposal document and making your presentation. Visual Art will be incorporated into design of the best proposals. All six of the STEM Habits will be drawn upon for successful projects.

Evaluation: This is a multi-day project. Grades will come from benchmarks of progress and completion of supporting documents. A simple rubric (looking for complete, accurate, and creativity in each element (score of 5) to lacking in all three – score of 1) will be applied as well as the opportunity at significant points to rate yourself and your group’s ability to work collaboratively.

Specifically, benchmarks (grades) will be taken for:

Evidence of application of design process at 5 steps:

  1. Interviews for empathy conducted
  2. Use of data from interviews used in brainstorming
  3. Prototyping developed
  4. Prototype tested
  5. Presentation represents the process it took to arrive at final recommendation

As you work to create and conduct interviews, as a group, decide the materials you might need for low-resolution prototyping (rough drawings or models). Arrange to bring as much as you can from home, some generic supplies (card stock board, tape, rulers, markers, scissors) will be supplied.

Teacher notes:

Day One: Introduce the project. You may wish to send the first page of this document to students via email. Go over the attached documents regarding good interviewing. Arrange students into groups of no more than 5 per group. Spend the day letting them create interview questions. If time, let them interview people from other groups in the class. Encourage students to continue interviewing other students and anyone else they think they need to interview before next class.

Day Two: Facilitated ideation (brainstorming). They’ve done this process before, but you may wish to review with the attached documents regarding brainstorming. Should take all period to put interviews into stories then brainstorm and start to decide on ideas to prototype.

Day Three: Prototyping lab. Again, attached docs from the d school to help. Encourage students to bring materials from home. We’ll work on providing organizing storage space in the room for materials and work to be stored. This day should be spent physically (or virtually) building prototypes of proposed storage. This may require students to leave the room and go someplace in the building for measurements. Please use common sense and set some boundaries (no more than one group out at a time – maybe not even the whole group) or time limits on how long to be gone and remind them of other classes continuing so be quiet in hallways.

Day Four: Testing lab. They should “test” their prototypes. This means pairing up with another group and presenting their idea. Conduct whatever tests they designed (could be testing stability, strength, storage capacity, locking ability, or passing the design idea past another group). Encourage multiple feedback/trials when possible.

Day Five: Reiteration. Take feedback from testing day and refine idea. Could mean new ideation process, could mean refining prototype, should involve more testing before done.

Day Six: Class presentations to select the one that will represent their section to J & G.



Slides for Presentation based on the Proposal


  1. Title Slide
  2. Background of the project
  3. Defined goal and objectives
  4. Expected short-term and long-term results
  5. Beneficiaries of the project
  6. Problems solved by the project

Content of the Project

  1. Location
  2. Resources (materials, information)
  3. Cost (per unit and total)
  4. Analysis of capacity and capability
  5. Explanation of product. Include a rationale for decisions

Summary and Follow-Up

What are the long-term benefits of your product?

How does your product best fit the space (aesthetically and feasibly)?

How does your product best fit the needs of the client? (Think current/ future students)


Required Images

___Group Members

___Photos of Locker Prototype

___Proposed Location of Lockers


Presentation Considerations

Readability of text

Participation of members