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Here you'll find everything you need to help you organize, run and publicize your very own Hackasaurus design jam. We created this content for educators who want to teach classes, teens who want to start their own hacking club and community organizers who want to hack the world that they live in. Happy hacking.

Download a printable "10 Steps to Design a Hack Jam for Youth"

Do Your Homework

A successful jam takes some time to plan, but with a little elbow grease, your event could rock.

  • A month prior to the design jam:
    • the venue should be identified
    • the date should be confirmed
    • the core planning team more or less should be in the works
  • Two weeks prior to the design jam:
    • permission slips should be disseminated. (This is particularly important if you plan on having teens engage in open design, where they are sharing their work on the web and documenting.)


Call All Superheroes

Planning and facilitating a meeting or event should not be a solo affair. Invite youth and facilitators who have experience in the field and/or with kids and work with them to develop a game plan or curriculum for the day of the design jam.

Tip: have some people with technical skills on hand to troubleshoot as well as act as a creative support team. Consider approaching local universities or tech organizations to act as on-site mentors.


Define the theme and learning goals

Think creatively about incorporating Hackasaurus into the work that you already do. Identify what the big picture learning objectives are for the event so that you can begin to craft a design challenge. Remember, the technology or media should not be the theme of the jam, just a strategy for implementation. Some past jams have included: Hacking Citizen Science on Earth Day, Social Hacktivism and Entrepreneurship 101

Tip: If you are a teacher in a school, think about how you can integrate a lesson plan utilizing Hackasaurus tools into your curriculum.


Set Expectations for Outcomes

The goal of every design jam should be to make something. Set expectations for outcomes so that both the youth and facilitators know the expectations coming into the jam. Reinforce this with publicity efforts and messaging happening around the event.


Design the Lesson or Event Plan

Break the learning goals down into small tasks that can be incorporated into your design challenge. With your team of Superheroes, think about ways to embed assessment directly into the activity so that it is both a meaningful learning experience and a fun design activity.

Many event plans allow for some dedicated instruction combined with experimentation time. Here are some sample lesson plans for you to use, or remix to fit the theme of the day.


Set Up for Success

Define the space where you will be hosting the design jam. Make sure that you have prepared both your technical materials as well as physical space well in advance.

Tip: Break up the space as much as possible.

  • Move chairs into a circle.
  • Design "centers' or stations for people to move about within the space
  • Set up a projector connected to a laptop for easy sharing of hacks


Think of Participants as Makers

Make every attempt humanly possible to define the jam space as interactive. Start out by designing ice-breakers and opportunities to get people to contribute to the design challenge and work collectively to make something by the end of the day.


  • Ice breakers

Bust a Hack- ASAP

Youth don't want to hear what cool things they can do, they want to get dirty and figure it out themselves- let them! Collaboratively use the Hackasaurus tools to publicly remix a website

  • Tools: Instructables

Work in Teams and Share

Let teens work together in teams, and throughout the jam encourage them to take on specific roles on their project (i.e., visual designer, coder, project manager, documentarian).Have them present what they did, encouraging conversation about process and techniques! Everyone shares something useful that they learned- only one sentence to answer and if there is someone who said something interesting, shout it out and let them know that you agree. Embed a light weight de-brief into the sharing out of useful things.


Follow Up

As soon as your jam is over, upload your pictures to a public repository like Flickr. Direct participants to resources so that they can continue making, hacking, building and connecting to peers who they met at the jam.

Let us know how we can help you have a success full design jam, survey


  • Flickr Group Pool
  • De-brief guide
  • Resources on the web for designers
  • Resources on the web for developers