Build A Better Mousetrap: Solving Environmental Conundrums

Course Description

This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of the relationship between product design and the environment. By researching and discussing environmental concerns facing Gen Z, this course offers an opportunity to develop your skills as an environmental detective and product designer. The final goal is to prototype a design that aims to solve an environmental conundrum.

Environmental detective skills are built by researching a product’s impact on the natural world. The first half of the course, we will meet and discuss the course readings as well as report our findings. By examining the concerns and products associated with the Green Revolution, we are setting the stage for the second half of the course where we will design and fabricate a prototype for a new, improved product that addresses a chosen environmental focus. “Building a Better Mousetrap,” a phrase credited to Ralph Waldo Emerson, simply means being innovative. Your ingenuity in combining knowledge and application is what builds a "better mousetrap." Prototyping can be as simple as using a shoebox, a pair of scissors and glue to construct a template of a product.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Acknowledge, understand and gain the tools to process data governing the relationship between the built and natural worlds we inhabit.
  • Gain improved research skills concerning environmental science and product design.
  • Prototype an effective product that addresses an environmental concern.
  • Identify false claims used to promote “Green Products.”


No prerequisites are required. This course is suited to students with an interest in both the environment and making. A basic understanding of environmental topics and any form of art are useful. It is not necessary to be an artist or biologist. Any student with the ability to see the big picture and apply analysis with an innovative mindset will do great in this course.


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: July 11, 2022 - August 05, 2022
Duration: 4 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 12:15P-3:05P
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): Phoenix Savage
Course Number: 10308