The Uniform Challenge

Participate in a design challenge with your partner class: creating a school uniform for each other!
Ages 8-14 / 60+
min Activity
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  • Meet with a partner class to exchange information about their daily routine, experiences, and preferences 
  • Work in groups on a multi-day project to design a school uniform for their partner classmates by leveraging the information and insights that they learned
  • Exchange constructive feedback with their partner classmates, and improve their uniform designs based on the feedback that they receive 

Supporting Research

Researchers have found that successful group work in the classroom requires that students engage constructively with each other’s ideas, encourage everyone to play an active role in the problem-solving process, and practice prosocial behaviors such as treating others with respect. Through this activity, students will foster skills around collaboration and inclusivity as they navigate different ideas within their groups, show curiosity and respect towards each other, and exchange constructive feedback with their classmates.

To learn more about these skills, and how they promote students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.


Activity Partners

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Educator Note

Empatico offers an exciting opportunity for educators to connect their classrooms with other classes around the world. Once you have connected with another educator in the Empatico community, you can schedule live virtual exchanges to bring your students together. These cross-cultural experiences enable students to share their stories, explore different perspectives, and make new friends in another community. 

Empatico exchanges are most successful when educators plan and get to know each other beforehand. To do this, please schedule a video call to connect with your partner educator, and use this opportunity to share your goals for this experience, exchange helpful information about your students, and discuss how you will lead the exchange together. Our "Get to Know Your Partner Educator" resource provides suggested conversation prompts for your meeting.

For more tips on leading a positive, cross-cultural experience for your students, please watch our “Teacher Tips” video.

Step 1: Investigate

  1. Before leading the virtual exchange activity described below, consider facilitating a “Get to Know You” session with your partner class, which will help build understanding and rapport between your students and lay the groundwork for this collaborative project. 

    Begin the activity by explaining the project to students. You might say: “We have an exciting opportunity to participate in a design challenge! Our task is to create a uniform for our new friends. First, we’ll share details about ourselves, our weather, and our favorite activities. Then, after gathering information about our partner classmates, we’ll design a uniform for them that fits their unique lifestyle.”
  2. Together, decide on what information to share with your partner class. For example, students might describe:
    • Different types of weather conditions in your community and how they affect their mood (e.g., students might feel sad when it’s raining because they can’t play outside) 
    • Some activities that they enjoy at school, like playing football during their lunch break or taking care of the school garden
    • Special elements that they might want in their uniform, like their favorite colors or school mascot 
    • Any cultural norms or traditions that are important to consider (e.g., students who wear head coverings) 

    Facilitate a respectful and inclusive discussion, and use strategies such as dot-voting to ensure that all students have the opportunity to contribute ideas and participate in the decision-making process. Remind students that this information aims to represent their collective perspective, and may not capture every individual’s experiences and preferences. 
  3. Ask students to also prepare questions to gather learn more about their new friends (e.g., around information that might be useful to consider as they’re designing a uniform for them).

    Consider assigning a few student representatives who are responsible for different tasks, such as:
    • Greeting your partner class 
    • Sharing information about your class 
    • Asking questions to learn about your partner class 
    • Responding to your partner class’s questions 
  4. On the day of your scheduled exchange, distribute a copy of the “Uniform Challenge” handout to each student so they can take notes on the first page. 

    Then, start the video call using Empatico’s built-in Zoom integration, or the video tool that you previously selected. 

    Invite students to greet their partner classmates. Then, student representatives from both classes can take turns sharing the information and asking the questions that they prepared. The other students should take careful notes on their handout so they can use this information later. 

    At the end of the exchange, students can say “goodbye” and express excitement for sharing their uniform designs with each other! 

Step 2: Collaborate

  1. Divide your class into 3-4 groups, ensuring a mix of personalities and skill-sets within each group. 
  2. Explain that each group will work together to create a uniform for your partner class. Ask students to brainstorm individually first, using the box on the second page of their handout to sketch some initial ideas before sharing them with the rest of their group. Remind them to refer back to the notes they took during the virtual exchange to ensure that their ideas reflect the preferences and lifestyle of your partner class.

    After students finish their individual brainstorming, they should exchange ideas within their group and collaborate on a final design. Emphasize the importance of respecting each other’s ideas and perspectives, and approaching the process with an open and curious mind. For example, students should share constructive feedback on their group members’ ideas, and also be receptive to feedback themselves. Remind them that their shared goal is to create a uniform that your partner class will appreciate.

    As students work on their designs, encourage them to consider different questions like: 
    • What type of fabric should we use? Do our partner classmates live in a mostly hot or cold climate? Should our fabric be lightweight and breathable, or more insulating and warm? 
    • What activities do they enjoy at school? How can we create a uniform that makes these activities more enjoyable?
    • What colors do our partner classmates like? Do they have any school colors? 
    • Are there any special symbols that our partner classmates might like, like a school mascot or any cultural references?
    • What are some cool design features that our partner classmates might appreciate, like lots of pockets or pants that can turn into shorts? 
  3. Once each group finishes their designs, coordinate with your partner educator on a way to exchange students’ designs with each other for feedback. For example, consider using a platform like Padlet, Google Slides, or Microsoft Flip so students can send photos of their designs, as well as videos or text explaining why they included certain elements. Ensure that the platform allows for students to leave comments on others’ designs to facilitate a smooth feedback process. 
  4. After receiving the designs from your partner class, facilitate the process of sharing feedback with them. For example, each group can select a design to review, and share their feedback as written comments or a recorded video. 

    Establish guidelines for the feedback process, such as: 
    • Start with positive aspects of the design before offering suggestions for improvement 
    • Provide constructive feedback, such as specific suggestions for how to make the uniform more practical for their lifestyle 
    • Acknowledge the effort and creativity demonstrated by their partner classmates

    For example, students might say: “We really like that you added our school mascot to the uniform! One suggestion that we have is using more breathable fabric, because we have a lot of hot weather here. A lighter material would make the uniform more comfortable for us, especially when we’re playing outside. Thank you for all your hard work on this project - we’re excited to see your final design!”

If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...

Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call. 
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.

If students in either class don’t have individual devices...

Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.  
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.

If you prefer not using Kahoot!...

Use this document (Spanish version) to prompt students.