Protective Design

By Stephanie Mulvihill, June 19, 2007

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Fashion Design

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Lesson Time

Three or four fourty-five minute periods


In this lesson, students will discuss the things we, as a society, are afraid of and how designers help us confront these fears. Fear as an individual, and as a society, is something faced everyday. Students will identify products created to protect from danger and will then create their own wearable protection design.

National Standards

Thinking and Reasoning
1. Applies basic trouble-shooting and problem-solving techniques 2. Applies decision-making techniques
Visual Arts
1. Understands and applies media, techniques, and processes related to the visual arts. 2. Know how to use structures (e.g. sensory qualities, organizational principals, expressive features) and functions.
1. Uses the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing. 2. Uses grammatical and mechanical conventions in written compositions.

Common Core Standards

Anchors for Reading: 

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently

Anchor Standards for Writing:

Text Types and Purposes:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

Range of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening: 

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.


Students will:
  • draw conclusions about society and fear
  • brainstorm ways to protect people
  • create a wearable garment from recycled materials that protects the wearer from a danger in daily life
  • learn about products created by designers to protect people from real or perceived dangers


Museum of Modern Art: Safe: Design Takes on Risk Cooper Hewitt: Design Life Now: National Design Triennial 2006 Project worksheets (attached)


newsprint paper markers recycled materials (boxes, cardboard, cups, paper plates, material, bottles, etc.) joining materials (tape, hot glue, paper-mâché, plaster strips, etc.)


Introduction and Discussion 1. What do we need to be protected from? What dangers are faced in everyday life? As a class create a list of different everyday dangers (in one column). 2. One common human experience is fear—we're all afraid of something. And alternatively, we all want to feel safe from our fears. What are some of the products we buy to protect us from our fears? As a class, make a list of different products that were created to protect from the dangers listed in the first column. 3. Being safe is a basic human need. We all need to feel secure. Designers have taken on this problem. Have the students look over the Safe: Design Takes on Risk exhibit on the MOMA Web site. They should scroll through the various designs and notice how multiple items have been created to solve the same problem. Each student should make a list of five designs that they are impressed by. Have each student read their list and carry on a class conversation about the designs. 4. Break the students into groups of two or three. Have each group choose an everyday danger and design, and create a wearable object or garment to protect the wearer. Students will be making this protective garment out of recycled materials, paper-mâché, and paint. 5. Project steps: Brainstorm ideas for a solution. Create thumbnail sketches of potential designs. Write a project proposal with a list of needed materials. Division of Labor: decide each group member's role. Construct the design. Present the ideas, sketches, and created object to the class. 6. Final Presentation: When students are finished, they will create an advertisement showing their protective garment in action. The ad should include a photo of the garment, a product name, and a slogan.


See attachment

Enrichment Extension Activities

The advertisement can be tied into an English lesson on persuasive writing. Or, it could be incorporated into a Social Studies or History lesson about how our fears as a society have changed.

Teacher Reflection

We had a lot of fun with this lesson. Students actually used their garments in the ad which, I think, gave them a connection to the project. The ads were hilarious!

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.