Debbie Yu


Classroom Toolkit

facilitating A Workshop for IntersectTo/Bipoc hackathon:
Navigating conversations about race in school settings, a human-centered approach

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 2.13.15 AM.png




session Length

1 day



To conceptualize a product or service that will help students navigate conversations about race in a school setting, encourage openness, and compassion.



Empathy mapping, persona creation, defining/ framing the problem, user journey mapping, dot voting, and brainstorming solutions



Activists, UX designers, UX researcher, Artists


my role

Co-facilitator, Product Designer

  Empathy mapping

Empathy mapping


Conversation starters

Before beginning the session, it was communicated to participants that co-creation will take place in a safe space to provide an atmosphere that is non-judgemental, and relaxed, which will encourage openness and participation. Goals and objectives were communicated to ensure participants understood the value of the session.

As participants are all BIPOC, we decided to start the session with empathy mapping. Introductions along with personal stories were shared about experiences with racism in high school, how participants have dealt with looking and feeling different, about our own connection to our cultural heritage, to difference people, language, ESL, and even relationships with parents and families. Before long, there were many valuable stories which gave participants inspiration, and a picture of what problems they wanted to address.


  Personas: the “white washed”, the “F.O.B”, and the “E.S.L.” kids

Personas: the “white washed”, the “F.O.B”, and the “E.S.L.” kids



With momentum and insight, participants could already categorize experiences into three different personas for students. It is key to ensure that all student are represented and included during ideation. Ensuring this, we could discover pain points, goals & needs, backgrounds, and motivations.

The wider system of support: teachers, parents, lunchroom staff, peer mentors, bus drivers, caretakers



Define Problems

Based on our research, now having formulated our audience, we needed to define problems to solve. We established the importance of fostering empathy from a young age, making a connection to different people, feeling comfortable asking questions about race, identifying racism in a closed environment (experiences at home, or in cliques).



Solution brainstorm

Dot voting

Chosen solution

The team has chosen to create a resource for diversity games for grade school teachers.

Next Steps

  • Conduct research

  • Create an action plan

  • Create a pitch


  • Choosing the right participants can speed up the ideation process quickly, and gather valuable insights early (ie: involving students, youth, or educators). We all had insightful experiences that informed our decision making, but if given more time, we would engage with people we are designing for in today’s climate. Involving not only students but also parents, teachers, ensures we could be able to design a service for everybody involved.

  • Establish rules, a facilitator’s role early, along with objectives to ensure participants understand scope of activity for best performance.

  • A smaller group helps participants feel comfortable and valuable.

  • Use of a timer is an excellent way to help participants plan, prioritize, and stay on track