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Empathy is our ability to see the world through other people's eyes, to see what they see, feel what they feel, and experience things as they do. We do this by putting aside our own preconceived ideas and so that we may understand the ideas, thoughts, and needs of others instead.

In Design Thinking, we are concerned with understanding the people for whom we are designing solutions—for doing something that can help them. When we visit our users in their natural environments in order to learn about how they behave, or when we conduct interviews with them, we are not seeking for opportunities to react to the people; rather, we want to absorb what they are going through, and feel what they are feeling.

Discussion:  What is the role of empathy in solving problems?
Empathy graphic organizer.PNG

Today we will be providing you with a snack!  You will use the bandana on your table to make a blindfold by folding it and tying it around your head. You may talk with others during the snack, but are not allowed to peek, or state out loud what you think you are eating.

When you have finished, you will record the following information on the graphic organizer:

  • What was difficult about the disability?

  • If you could create a device to help people with this disability, what would it be?


You will now participate in a series of disability simulations, completing the organizer as you go.

Once all students have experienced each station, the teacher will lead a discussion about what students experienced and what ideas you have for a solution.

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Extension Activity

Watch the Ted Talk for a deeper understanding of how empathy impacted the design of the Embrace incubator. 


Narrow down even further,broad Google /Amazon search to ID existing solutions to the problem

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