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 GATHERING SPACES.

Educators can register HERE.

Volunteers can register HERE.

In person Orientation will take place on Tuesday, November 15th at 5:30 pm. Virtual Orientation will take place on Wednesday, November 16th at 12 pm.

We will be challenging students this year to think about what a gathering space can mean. When we think of gathering spaces we often think about city squares or public activities. We may also think about where our family gathers. This year in Design LAB, let’s think about where else people (or animals!) can gather in order to promote companionship or communication. Alternatively, what kinds of spaces are for gathering that involve little to no sound? Do gathering spaces change based on age? What kinds of gathering spaces might be possible in the future, and what kinds were often in the past? Join us as we investigate gathering spaces that exist all over the world!

Check out these fun examples of gathering spaces around 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, financial literacy, problem solving, verbal and visual communication, creative expression, collaborative team-building, STEM and presentation skills.

Starting at the beginning of January, volunteers will be available to help with the building process of the program. Each classroom will be matched with a volunteer and students who sign up as individuals will sign up for a day/time where they can meet with a volunteer and other students via a virtual platform. 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 learning spaces. 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, budgeting, 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.


*Dates & Plans subject to change

Educator Registration Opens                   August 1, 2022

Volunteer Registration Opens                  September 1, 2022

Orientation Workshop                              November 15, 2022

Orientation Workshop – Virtual                             November 16, 2022

Educator-Volunteer Teams Assigned     November 30, 2022

Program Kick-off                                        January 9, 2023

Program Conclusion                                  May TBD 2023

Design LAB Exhibit Week                        May 6 – May 13, 2023

Design LAB Exhibit Jury Review            May 9, 2023

Design LAB Exhibit Reception                May 13, 2023

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