Madagascar hissing cockroaches help us learn empathy

Empathy is a very important mindset that we practice in our TikkunXDesign Lab. It helps us understand what problems or needs we are trying to remedy. In order to help us foster this important mindset, we welcomed some new classroom pets to our Design Lab: Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

We first spent time observing our new pets and learning about their preferences. Then we started our challenge – to build a piece of playground equipment for our new friends.

We spent part of our class time brainstorming and drawing out ideas either alone or in groups. Then, we spent the rest of our time using materials to create something that addressed the needs of our roaches. The limitations of the materials acted as constraints on our designs.

By trying to understand these very different creatures and trying to figure out their needs, we are increasing our capacity for empathy.