Fourth Graders Play-Test Toys for IIT's IPRO Students
IIT's IPRO Students

Photo credit: Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)

Fourth Graders Play-Test Toys for IIT's IPRO Students

Tye Johnson’s fourth-grade class had the opportunity to play-test a variety of toys invented by Illinois Institute of Technology’s (IIT) students taking an introductory toy design Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) Program course in partnership with Big Monster Toys, a Chicago-based toy design studio.

Johnson found out about the design course from Lab’s Lower School Principal Sylvie Anglin, who asked if Johnson’s “class would be interested because they had participated in design challenges in class all year, had just interviewed a game designer, were product testers for a game, and were completing original games to teach others about Black history.”

Johnson’s class visited the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship and, after listening to a presentation from Jonathan Hodgkins and Bo Rodda, IIT professors who taught the toy design course, the students were able to play with a variety of toys created by eight teams.

Johnson says her students “used 21st century skills of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and perseverance. They also had to utilize a growth mindset and learned to be okay with taking risks and trying new ideas.”

After one-hour of play, the fourth graders were given $700 in play money to “donate” to their favorite toy creators.

“This inspired at least one of my students to become a toy designer one day,” Johnson says. “It inspired all of my students to recognize their power and to understand the importance of their unique voice and expressions.”

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