A row of blue lockers

21st Century Storage, The New Locker

That thin metal box at school where you cram all your stuff? Lockers aren't designed for students today. In fact, the design of lockers hasn't changed since the days of your great grandparents!

But in the School of the Future things could be different, and in fact, as you well know, at FlexTech, they are!

Let's get started on the challenge to redesign your school locker into a storage unit for the 21st century!


Reimagine the design of a 21st century locker you would need as a Maker and shaper of Education. A locker you could use to keep all of your stuff for making and building in PBL!

Collect Info

Gather more information about your existing lockers and storage by taking photos, sketching, conducting interviews, or doing additional research.

Think About

  • What is the purpose of a school locker?
  • How has the way you use a locker changed since you first started school in kindergarten, for example?
  • Do teachers or school administrators have any safety or security concerns about lockers? What are they?
  • What types of materials is your locker constructed from?
  • What other kind of organization systems have you seen in schools?
  • What are some safety or security concerns teachers, administrators and students may have about alternative storage options?

Try This

  • Take photos of a different organizational structures at schools and at home--book shelves, lockers, cubbies, etc.
  • Make a list of all the features a locker currently has. (Examples: hooks, air slots, etc.)
  • Make a list of all the items you would need to store each day.
  • Next to each item, make notes about what 'needs' that item has. (Examples: my sweaty gym clothes need to kept away from my other things; my iPod needs electricity to be charged; my winter boots need a place to drip dry)
  • Make a list of all the items you wish you could store at school, but don't have room for.
  • Measure the length, height, and depth of different organizational units.
  • Measure the length, height, and depth of your backpack, books, coat / shoes, and other large objects you typically keep inside a  locker.
  • Measure the width of your school's hallway. Ho 21st Century Storage, Do we need lockers?.h. w much of this width is taken up on both sides of the hallway when students stand in front of their open lockers?
  • Read this Washington Post article to learn more about some of the complaints students have with their lockers today.
  • Visit the websites of a few manufacturers to see various types of lockers currently made. What do you like or dislike about these examples?

Brainstorm Ideas

Develop sketches or models to help you puzzle through new ideas and solutions.

Think About

  • Make a list of all the things you miss about having a locker. Ask several friends for their opinions.
  • Make a list of all the things you didn't like about having a locker. Ask several friends for their opinions.
  • Think about a locker not just as a metal box, but as another type of storage container. What other types of containers do you use each day to store stuff? (Examples: containers for food, clothing, household items)
  • Many animals, insects, and plants use containers to store things (Example: bees use honeycombs). Check out some of the images in the Inspiration Gallery for other ideas of storage units.
  • Keep in mind that your newly-designed storage unit will be one of many along the hallway or in classrooms How will these individual units all fit together? How will several students access their storage at the same time without bumping into each other?

Try This

Based on the information you collected above, brainstorm a list of special features you'd like your new storage space to have. Consider what materials the storage will be made from. What materials will be durable against the wear and tear of student use over the years?

Develop Solutions

Now's the time to take what you've learned from the steps above and develop your own solution for a new student storage system.

Try This

Use recycled cardboard to make a full-scale or half-scale prototype model of your storage unit. You can't really understand if the storage will hold all your stuff, until you make a quick study model. Don't worry about making a fancy finished model at this time. Instead, use cardstock, scissors, and tape to quickly create the large 3D form. See how it looks. Break off different sections, add new pieces, and try new ideas. Take photos of your model.

Final Design

A Row of Orange Lockers
Orange Lockers

The final step of the design process is to create a more finished model that communicates your ideas to others.

Try This

  • What color or colors will your storage unit be? What colors have inspired you? Add colors to the digital model of your unit
  • What materials will your storage unit be made of? Choose materials and details to add to your digital model.
  • Include a human figure in your final storage unit model, so we can see how big your unit really is.
  • Upload additional images of your finished storage unit model to the slides for your project. Write short captions explaining your ideas.
  • Congratulations on solving this design challenge!