Design LAB is a FREE, hands-on K-8 education program offered to teachers in the Cincinnati area that is focused on building awareness, knowledge and community. This year’s theme is DWELLINGS.

We will be challenging students to push the limits of where and how we and others live. When we think of living spaces we often think of the space that we live in ourselves. We may also think of how our neighbors or friends live. This year in Design LAB, we are going to challenge students to look at how people (and animals!) live all over the world. How does our local environment change how we live? How does our age or size change how we live? Where can living spaces be located and how big or small can they be? What needs do they need to meet? Join us as we investigate all of the different living spaces that exist all over the world!

We love this photo of a unique living space right here in Cincinnati:

 Further Program Details

Design LAB is tailored to broaden and deepen student awareness, appreciation, and active participation in our natural and built environments.  Local professionals team with educators to guide students through a real-world, themed design problem, emphasizing the development of: research, critical thinking, problem solving, verbal and visual communication, creative expression, collaborative team-building, STEM and presentation skills.

This 16-week program engages a minimum of once per month classroom visits by professionals in the built environment. Each classroom session is approximately 45-60 minutes, and is assisted in partnership with the lead educator. Essential materials including the Educator & Volunteer Resource Guide, PowerPoint kick-off presentation and tri-folds are provided by Design LAB.

Students will be challenged to research, design and build models of dwellings. As in previous years, students will have the opportunity to create a 24″x 24″ three-dimensional model and tri-fold panels for students to describe and document their creative process including:  concept images, sketches/drawings, vocabulary, written data, planning, etc. At the end of the work period, submitted projects will be displayed during Design LAB Exhibit Week where students may present their ideas, methodology, and solutions.


Educator Registration Opens                 August 1, 2019

Volunteer Registration Opens                September 1, 2019

**Dates below are tentative**

Orientation Workshop                             November 18, 2019 (5:30p-7:30p)

Orientation Workshop                             November 20, 2019 (12:00p-1:30p)

Educator-Volunteer Teams Assigned   November 30, 2019

First Classroom Visit                                December, 2019

Program Kick-off                                       January 6, 2020

Program Conclusion                                 April 24, 2020

Project Drop-off                                         April 25, 2020

Design LAB Exhibit Week                       April 26 – May 2, 2020

Design LAB Exhibit Jury Review           April 28, 2020

Design LAB Exhibit Reception               May 2, 2020

Learn about Design LAB from our Volunteers & Educators:

We look forward to working with you to engage and inspire students in exploring, designing, and building their environments!

If you have any questions, please contact Christen Lubbers, Executive Director

(513) 421-4469

“Working with the kids gave me new energy and enthusiasm for my work. Seeing it all through their eyes was really fun and inspiring.”  – Classroom Volunteer

“I learned all about teamwork. You’ve got to trust your team, especially when building.” – 4th Grade Student

Design LAB 2018: Food For Thought Winning Projects

Design LAB 2017: BRIDGE Winning Projects

Design LAB 2016: Learning Spaces Winning Projects