Grade 7 Students Use Design Thinking to Create Ornaments

As their final class project before winter break, Grade 7 students in Jillian Steele’s Design Technology class were challenged to create a home ornament that utilized one of three types of structures: an illustration on a wood cutout; a pierced out image and/or a word (using positive and negative space); or a tab and slot design that transformed a 2D design into a 3D object.

Students used the design thinking process to create their final work. That process consists of four parts: empathize, define, ideate, and prototype.

First students identified their target audience, or who the ornament was intended for (empathize). Some students decided to give their ornament as a gift to their family members.

Students then wrote out their problem statement to focus their efforts. For example, “How can I create an ornament that starts as a 2D design and stands up as a 3D object?” (define).

Next they brainstormed many ideas and narrowed those down to a final three with Steele’s guidance. The students sketched out their top three designs and created paper models to share with Steele for review (ideate).

As the final step, Steele cut out the students’ designs, using their paper templates, from various types of wood – pau rosa, purple heart, walnut, and plywood. To enhance their designs, students could mix and match different design components with different colored woods. The students then assembled their ornaments into their final form with Steele’s help.

“I thought this project was really cool because it related to what we were learning in design tech, and it tied in to the holiday season,” shared Zoe Murata ‘26. “I liked being able to design a 2D object on paper and see it come together as a 3D object in real life.”

“The students really took this project and made it their own,” shared Steele. I am so proud of each and everyone of them.”


Snowflake ornament
Mila Dul ‘26
Classic car ornament
Lincoln Britto ‘26
Tree ornament
Taj Carbrey ‘26
Anime ornament
Zilin Wang ‘26
Surfer ornament
Tristan Bedford ‘26
Moon ornament
Kalia Keaulana ‘26
Grizzly bear ornament
Zoe Murata ‘26