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Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Technology Resources

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Curriculum Details for
I³: Invention, Innovation, Inquiry

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Resource Description
Staff, Planning,
and Costs
Standards, Research, and Evaluation

I³: Invention, Innovation, Inquiry

Through challenges and questions posed in thematic units, I3: Invention, Innovation, Inquiry gives young people the opportunity to experience the excitement of invention and innovation, and to learn how technology is integral to their everyday lives. I3 thematic units, 10 in all, consist of teaching and learning resources designed to enhance technology literacy in grades 5–6. They are based on technological and science literacy standards. This project is supported in part by the National Science Foundation and implemented by the International Technology Education Association and California University of Pennsylvania.

Content Focus:
Science, Multimedia/Digital Literacy, Engineering,

Linkages to:
Social Studies, Math, Life & Social Skills,

Grades/Ages: Grades 5–6

Costs: $15 per unit
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.

Publication Date: 2005

Developer Contact Information
International Technology Education Association and California University of Pennsylvania
1914 Association Drive
Reston, VA 20191
703-860-2100 index.htm

Design Overview

This curriculum presents youth with challenges designed to promote invention, innovation, and inquiry, which encompass concepts and practices central to technological thinking. Following the engineering design process or another form of inquiry-based learning, teams of participants brainstorm, construct, test, and refine technological designs that address a particular need or scenario. One unit, for example, challenges participants to invent a device that captures wind energy and converts it into mechanical energy. Another unit challenges young people to form a company that mass-produces and packages fudge for a fudge festival, which requires researching food packaging and preservation. Underpinning the I3 approach is the emphasis on empowering youth to drive their learning experience.
  • Activity Types: Project-based learning, hands-on learning
  • Materials/technology required: Computer with Internet connection, print or CD version of unit, basic art supplies
  • Program Length/Duration: Non-sequential units requiring 8 to 10 sessions to complete
  • Special considerations: Originally created for classroom use, this curriculum is easily adapted for afterschool settings by pulling out and modifying activities to suit the needs of the program and participants.

Instructional Approach

I3 units contain standards-based content and offer suggestions for effective teaching approaches. The detailed descriptions of the learning activities include ideas for group brainstorming as well as ways to help youth visualize, test, and refine their designs. The stand-alone units are youth-directed. In these activities, young people work together collaboratively as part of research, design and implementation teams. This process promotes critical thinking and is project-based.

Consideration of Special Student Populations

The group work in pairs or triads was intended to accommodate different abilities and learning styles within a group. Emphasizing hands-on components in the project gives kinesthetic learners as well those with learning disabilities opportunities to take on important roles within the team.

Online Training for Afterschool Staff
The Afterschool Training Toolkit is available online free of charge.

The following resources can be used with the online Afterschool Training Toolkit to give you the resources you need to build fun, innovative, and academically enriching afterschool activities.