Building Innovators For Life

Changemaker K-12 is a curated collection of thinking routines, hands-on design challenges, and communication exercises that empower teacher educators, teacher candidates, teachers, and K-12 students to improve their lives, classrooms, schools, communities, and beyond.

What does innovation in the classroom look like?

Teaching innovation in the classroom can take on many forms, but Changemaker K-12 is a systematic learning path divided into a series of three stages focused on design fundamentals. The knowledge and practice of these three fundamentals are then brought together to explore the more complex process of creating change through design.

How does it work?

It's no secret children have an innate ability to generate ideas, but sometimes modern schooling can teach them to look for the single correct answer to a problem as fast as possible. This can lead to a lack of curiosity, an inability to learn from mistakes, and worry over coming up with numerous ideas.

There is no magic formula for solving problems, but there are many well established tools, exercises, and processes students can use to innovate. Changemaker K-12 has done the legwork for you and assembled effective, easy to implement lessons that will spark wonder in your students. Educators can easily integrate Changemaker K-12 into any subject — even those not typically associated with making, engineering or design. Developed by teachers, academics, students and designers, Changemaker K-12 builds up your students' problem solving toolkit, ultimately giving them the confidence to tackle and solve anything life throws their way.

What will they learn?

  • To slow down and notice the world around them
  • To identify human-made systems and see them as malleable
  • To see and define opportunities for improvement in existing designs
  • To generate multiple ideas before selecting the best one
  • To quickly prototype and test ideas in order to make improvements
  • To empathize with others through direct communication and avoid generic assumptions
  • To effectively communicate and make ideas visible by combining writing, sketching, and sharing

Level up their learning

Through each Changemaker lesson, students will practice several  common traits of innovators that can be applied to any future occupation. These traits are presented in each lesson as level up opportunities students are encouraged to practice and showcase as essential components in becoming changemakers. We believe in emphasizing and acknowledging the process of learning throughout lessons as students build their abilities to work as innovators. 


We are all born with an innate curiosity to investigate the world around us, ask questions, seek out problems to solve, and explore how things work. The Changemaker K-12 learning experiences nurture curiosity through detailed study of human-made systems (design awareness), making things (design for function), and learning how to design for the needs of others (design with empathy). ‍


ChangeMaker K12 provides opportunities for learners to empathize with users by learning about problems others face in their daily lives to develop potential  solutions to address human-centered issues. Learning to listen to varying perspectives is a crucial component in becoming a Changemaker.


Everyone brings a unique set of talents, perspectives, and experiences to the table, so collaboration has the potential to spark new or broadened ideas for innovation. ChangeMaker K12 provides unique opportunities to foster collaboration throughout lessons and by acknowledging collaborative efforts through Level Up opportunities.

Creative Thinkers

The ability to think creatively is a valued skill in multiple career and life contexts, but school curriculum does not always intentionally build creative capacities. ChangeMaker K12 provides opportunities to develop skill in making connections, developing ideas, and applying knowledge in new ways while Level Up opportunities acknowledge creative thinking. 


Challenging oneself intellectually and creatively takes courage. ChangeMaker K12 provides opportunities for students to develop mindsets of change agents, who persist through challenges to make a positive, human-centered difference in the world.


Though solving problems creatively and collaboratively are important skills for career and life, one can also grow in the ability to effectively communicate ideas to others. Students have opportunities to develop their communication abilities through scaffolded Changemaker K12 activities. ‍

Catalysts for Change

ChangeMaker K12 provides opportunities for students to become  catalysts for change in their schools and communities through culminating processes and experiences that draw upon the toolkit of skills learned and practiced throughout the progressive series of Changemaker K12 activities.  

Hear from experts that use the Changemaker process everyday!

“The younger we can get the kids learning about other people and empathizing towards others, the better I think our world will be.”

Taylor Wallace, M.Ed

“I would look for any and every way to use this program for schools, for students, especially now, with a lot of scripted curriculum and very, very limited freedom of creative expression.”

Nick Pappillion
Education Major

“If a school was considering adopting this Changemaker curriculum, I would tell them to absolutely go for it. If you want to teach your students how to be better people, how to change the world, how to be a collaborator and a communicator, then this is the program for you.”

Morgan Mercado, M.Ed

Where does innovation in the classroom start?

Ready to empower future Changemakers? Take a look at the full Changemaker K-12 learning path below. Though it is possible to jump in and out of different stages, the most learning value for students is achieved when done sequentially. We begin with Design Awareness thinking routines to build our ability to notice designs all around us.  

Design Awareness

The world is covered in design! Let’s uncover it.

Encourage your students to become design detectives as they investigate the often overlooked clues of our designed world.

Explore Routines

Design for Function

Build fast. Break things. Build better.

Challenge your student’s fear of failure with a set of fast-paced, hands-on challenges that view failure as opportunities to improve.

Explore Challenges

Design with Empathy

People have needs. Listen to them.

Equip your students with exercises that encourage them to understand other’s needs in order to design for improved lives.

Explore Exercises

Design for Change

What design will you give to the world?

With your toolkit loaded with the skills you practiced in Design Awareness, Design for Function, and Design with Empathy, you are ready to become a Changemaker and develop your own solutions to share with the world.

Start Designing!