Invention, Innovation, Inquiry


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In this unit the students assume the role of design engineers for a company called Sensible School Supplies. They will use inquiry skills to investigate and evaluate the school bags they currently use and apply what they discover to design and construct a model of their version of the ultimate school bag.

"It's a great unit! The hands-on, along with the critical-thinking skills the students will develop, will be used in other areas..."(Steve S., 6th grade teacher, East Hartford, CT)

Learning Goals

Students will:

  • Describe how to assess the design of technological products by asking good questions.
  • Explain the concepts of risks, benefits, and trade-offs.
  • Use the findings of an inquiry process to design and produce an improved school bag by following an engineering design process.


All units contain teacher background information, handouts, transparency masters, and a student packet.

Each unit is designed to integrate mathematics and science with technology and take 8 to 10 days.


Acknowledgment and Disclaimer
"This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0095922.""Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation."