This paper explores the collaborative process of designing a physical object to support a National Science Foundation funded educational research project. Researchers involved with this project are exploring the ways in which gesture can aid in a explanations of science phenomena, particularly ones that have unseen structures and unobservable mechanisms. In order to manipulate the science simulations, a motion sensitive device captures students’ hand gestures. It can be difficult for students to know how to engage with this device, which impedes both student learning and associated research. In order to reduce usability challenges and enhance the connection between a student’s gestures and the scientific concepts presented on the simulation screen, a collaborative and iterative design process was conducted to create a designed form that would assist students in productively engaging with the simulations. The iterative development process of this project is an exemplar of how designed items can be developed to support multidisciplinary research projects, while also creating new fields of research. Future exploration of this device’s impact on student interaction and learning may bring to light how objects can change how people gesture in learning contexts, leaving a lasting imprint on their understanding and memory.