Look, ask, try, learn

Ethnographically-oriented and qualitative methods enable researchers to discover relationships between people, artifacts, and contexts in the real world. While a formal qualitative study and data analysis is outside the scope of this class, in this assignment you will conduct some basic field observations in regards to how people cope with and respond to heat here in Phoenix.

Pick a setting that will provide context, inspiration, or a problem space for how heat is experienced in Phoenix. If this setting is not public, make sure to get permission from the people involved. Apply IDEO’s look, ask, try, learn methods:

look: what are people doing and saying?
ask: elicit feedback or participation from someone
try: simulate or participate in an activity yourself
learn: identify ‘thoughtless acts’, patterns, problems, or opportunities. you can learn from what you observed in context, or you might do a quick search to find related information online.

Write up your observations and notes. Describe where you went, what you saw, asked, tried, and learned. Include photographs or sketches of what happened.

Upload your writeup to the class blog under the ‘observation‘ category.

This assignment is worth 3 points
1 point for describing where you went and what you saw
1 point for asking or trying something
1 point for describing what you learned

Include pictures and/or sketches!!

Heat-themed silkscreen printing

In this assignment, you will create a silkscreen print that relates to the theme of heat. You can focus on expressing the human experience of heat and heat vulnerability here in Phoenix. You can also more generally experiment with inks, fabrics, and designs that represent, express, or respond to heat.

While your print does not necessarily need to involve thermochromic materials, you are encouraged to play with thermochromic fabrics and pigments, as well as the thermal cameras and solar pigments.

Your final print can be on any material, and could be part of a larger concept (mural, graffiti, etc.). Please think outside the box and go beyond a “t-shirt that changes color based on temperature” 🙂

To receive full credit for this assignment, you must show your process (what you tried and any iterations on your design, stencil, or paint) and articulate why you chose to create your particular print.

Post pictures and a description of your work on the blog under the “heat” category.

This assignment is worth 5 points
2 points for creating a print or set of prints that relate to the theme of heat
1 point for showing your process (what you tried)
2 points for clearly articulating your design rationale


Sign up for wordpress and email me (kstace@asu.edu) your username to be added to the blog.

Create a new post to introduce yourself. Include:

  • any prior experience with DIY Science (have you experimented with or made anything scientific?)
  • why you are taking this class and what do you hope to get out of it?
  • a link to a citizen science project and a brief summary of what it is and why it’s interesting

This assignment is worth 3 points
1 point for including each of the above in your post
please tag your post using the introductions category

Over the past few decades, breakthroughs in DIY (do it yourself) methods, low-cost technologies, and social media platforms have enabled people to participate in science in new and unexpected ways. This course will examine the technological, material, and social factors that expand science practice beyond professional settings. We will engage with initiatives ranging from low-cost environmental monitoring and quotidian food science, to grassroots efforts that communicate professional research to policy makers or members of the general public, as well as science-tinkering practices in art studios, garages, and hackspaces. Students will apply theoretical concepts and grounded fieldwork methods to the design of systems that scaffold expertise and support public participation in science.