Inspiring the next generation of designers

An early foundation in design encourages creativity, problem solving, and collaboration – skills that can help to prepare children for whatever big dreams they have for themselves! At the College of Design, we are dedicated to expanding access and providing opportunities for K-12 students to experience design.

Design Camps

The College of Design at Iowa State University offers immersive summer experiences that provide youth with a sense of what it is like to be a student in the college.

Our camps are a collaboration between the College of Design and ISU Extension & Outreach 4-H Youth Development.

On-Campus: Design Dimensions

Keep an eye out for next year’s camp information! Please note that costs and other details may change.

Design Dimensions focuses on 2D, 3D, and 4D thinking across disciplines and majors. Our on-campus experience is appropriate for students interested in all programs offered by the College of Design: architecture, studio/fine arts, community and regional planning, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and landscape architecture.  

This design camp is for students entering ninth through 12th grades and current high school graduates. Opportunities are available for Science Bound students. Campers stay in an air-conditioned Richardson Court residence hall and enjoy programming at the College of Design during the day.

$565 registration fee includes overnight accommodation, supplies, basic linens, and all meals (Summer 2023)

$315 registration fee for local commuters includes supplies and lunch daily (Summer 2023)

  • Illustrating the Protagonist vs Antagonist
    Watercolor Sketching
    Forward Learning Experience (FLEx)
    Motion Graphics
    We All Scream for ‘Zines
    Generating Architectural Plans
    Human Factors in Design through Visceral Large-scale Charcoal Drawing
    Imagination Journey: Designing A Dream Park Experience
    Silk Painting
    User Experience Design: Creating an App from Scratch

FLEx Forward Learning Experience

FLEx is a mobile learning program for advanced design technology benefiting K-12 students and beyond in a 21st century paradigm.

As an Iowa State design outreach program for Iowans, FLEx can visit classrooms, schools, libraries, science and art centers, educational conferences, and other community events throughout the state.

Taking technology on the road

Through a 16-foot trailer full of high-tech workstations, this mobile classroom is allowing the latest design and STEM technologies more accessible and is providing K-12 students and teachers with hands-on experiences. Structured around STEM, design thinking, and University Constructs (4C’s), this environment extends distant educational offerings by delivering full-scale augmented and virtual visualization, digital to real prototyping, circuit bending, and visual programming.  

FLEx is a collaborative design outreach program between Iowa State’s College of Design, College of Engineering, and Extension and Outreach Office.FLEx also partners with Iowa 4-H for youth development and educational outreach. Additional FLEx Space program development is supported by the Iowa Space Grant Consortium. 

  • Interactive Virtual Reality 
  • 3D Printing 
  • Augmented Reality 
  • Immersive visualization with Oculus Rift 
  • Circuit Bending with Little Bits 

Programs can be offered inside or outside, weather permitting, to best complement the learning environment and event.

K-12 Student image

ISU 4U Partnership

ISU 4U Promise is a partnership between King Elementary School and Moulton Elementary School in Des Moines and Iowa State University that provides immersive opportunities and increasing access to higher education.

Through this partnership, the College of Design at Iowa State University provides on-campus programming for students from these elementary schools. The programming covers a wide variety of topics from creating zines to building pollinator gardens.

Students who complete fifth grade at King or Moulton and graduate from a Des Moines public high school are eligible for tuition awards at Iowa State University.

A prospective student and their family talk with an Iowa State University admissions representative.

A Cyclone in the Making

The best way to picture yourself on Iowa State’s campus is to visit and experience it yourself! Meet with Iowa State University students, tour the entire campus, and see our College of Design students creating and designing first-hand.