2018 National Day of Design
Food Rescuers: STEM Innovations to Reduce Food Waste

2018 National Day of Design Mission, Food Rescuers: STEM Innovations to Reduce Food Waste encourages students to employ critical thinking skills, teamwork, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) principles, and an entrepreneurial mindset to create a solution to a real-world, relevant challenge.

2018 National Day of Design coincides with National STEM/STEAM Day on November 8, and while teachers can choose to lead the Mission whenever it most aligns with their lesson plans, we ask that you share photos, quotes, stories and videos on social media throughout the day on November 8 using #DayofDesign2018 and tagging @STEMconnector to connect to the larger national movement and increase engagement.


This year’s Day of Design Mission will center around food waste, a challenge that impacts students in their daily lives and their communities. Students will take an interdisciplinary approach, tapping into physical and biological sciences, English, technology, and engineering fundamentals to design a prototype that will reduce food waste for their school’s cafeteria. Teams can tackle this challenge using a wide range of materials, from everyday resources available in the classroom to design software to 3D printed components.

The Day of Design project-based learning opportunity reminds students that each of us has a role to play in solving complex global challenges at the local level – and that STEM thinking applies both in and outside the classroom.

Click here for a printable one-pager on the 2018 National Day of Design Mission. Please feel free to share with your colleagues and build momentum around this STEM project-based learning opportunity!


National Day of Design Mission activities are NGSS standards-aligned and age-appropriate.

Each Student Edition is ready for use by student teams as they navigate the project.  The accompanying Teachers’ Guide includes detailed instructions on how to implement the activity in the classroom, along with optional follow-on activities to extend the learning experience.

Participation is open to any student in grades Kindergarten through 12th, and any  adult supporting STEM learning for that student. The Teachers’ Guide is accessible to parents, afterschool program providers, mentors, etc., and can be implemented in a classroom or another setting. While the Teachers’ Guide offers suggestions for how to relate the Day of Design Mission to what is already being taught in the classroom, it can be a completely stand-alone activity

Please click here to download the Mission


On November 8th, 2018, coinciding with National STEM/STEAM Day, we ask that you share photos, videos, quotes, and stories of your students participating in the Mission by using #DayofDesign2018 and tagging @STEMconnector regardless of whether you actually complete the challenge on November 8.

Please click here for the social media toolkit, where you will find posts, and other social media tools used to amplify your involvement in 2018’s National Day of Design and highlight your commitment to STEM education.

Invite media to your day of design! We have provided a media advisory template that you can share with local media outlets, please click here.


The resources listed below are from the Institute of Food Technologies (IFT), National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

These first few articles address different solutions to food waste based on real world examples. They can be helpful prompts for you and your students when thinking about ideas for your solutions to the Food Waste Mission.

If you want to learn more about the different resources available to you check out these additional links that will provide you with more information on related fields.

If you have any questions, please email dayofdesign@stemconnector.com