English Language Arts

These design challenge lessons get students reading, writing and speaking about science and engineering. Check them out, and see how many opportunities there are to create cross-over in your curriculum!

Lessons marked with an orange gear icon address engineering within the Next Generation Science Standards.

Speaking and Listening



Building for Birdie

Grades K-2

Apply knowledge of shapes to build a bird home that is structurally sound.  

Lesson: 60 minutes
Unit: 150 minutes
Activity: 30 minutes

Caution! Wildlife Crossing

Grades 1-5

Build a structure (bridge, tunnel, etc.) to get an animal safely across a road.

Tech at Home Activity: 20+ minutes

Animal Rescue

Grades 4-8

Teams gather information and scientific evidence to design a device that will help move endangered animals from one protected area to another.

Lesson: Eight to ten 50-minute sessions



Vocabulary Choice Board

Grades K-12

Vocabulary activities to pair with one of our labs or other STEM activities.

Lesson: 20-30 min

Cooking with the Sun

Grades 3-8

Engineer a solar oven and use solar energy and radiation to warm a chosen food item. (Lab Connection: Simplicity of Electricity Lab)

Activity: 40 minutes to build, 1 hour to “cook”

Engineering Journals

Grades 3-8

Practice writing and documentation skills, whether in-person or virtual, with this journaling lesson.

Lesson: 60 minutes

Shaky Shelves: Exploring Cause and Effect

Grade 6

Write a proposal to the mayor for a device that prevents product and profit loss caused by earthquakes.

Lesson: Four 45-minute sessions

Coastal Erosion: Designing and Debating Solutions

Grades 6-8

Make an argument supported with evidence for a solution to the environmental issue of coastal erosion.

Lesson: Five 60-minute sessions

Design for All: Designing for Dexterity

Grades 7-12

Students work in teams to design a user-centered device for someone who has a specific need related to hand mobility.

Lesson: 2 hours
Unit: 5 hours


Speaking and Listening

Design for All: Project Playground

Grades 3-5

Become playground designers, draw a playground for yourself and a fictional friend using a persona. Then pitch your design to get feedback.

Lesson: 60 minutes
Activity: 30 minutes

Energy at Play

Grades 3-6

Build a device that can move a ball to a target while exploring energy transfer.

Lesson: 60-90 minutes

Planet Protectors

Grades 3-12

Students work together to create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) which educates others about protecting our planet.

Lesson: 120 minutes

Engineering Takes Flight

Grades 4-8

Explore the flight characteristics of different materials while designing an aircraft.

Lesson: Five 50-minute sessions

Escape the Lava

Grades 4-8

Design a device to rescue researchers from a lava flow.

Lesson: Four 50-minute sessions

Interglactic Interview

Grades 4-12

Students will practice their interview skills by pitching an ordinary Earth item to a panel of alien investors. Groups will take turns acting as both the design team and the panel as they build skills in giving and receiving feedback.

Lesson: 120 minutes (Two 60 minute sessions)

Earthquake in a Box

Grades 5-8

See first-hand how tectonic plates interact and the consequences. (Lab Connection: Engineering for Earthquakes Lab)

Lesson: 45 minutes

Green Pennies

Grades 5-8

Experiment with different oxidizing compounds to turn pennies green…and back to copper. (Lab Connection: Chemicals of Innovation Lab)

Activity: 30 minutes of set-up, 5 days of observation

Periodic Table Battleship

Grades 5-8

Develop a greater familiarity with the Periodic Table of Elements. (Lab Connection: Chemicals of Innovation lab)

Lesson: 30 mins

AI Inclusiveness

Grades 6-8

Explore the problem of bias in artificial intelligence through design activities and a series of video clips featuring The Tech for Global Good laureate, AI4ALL.

Lesson: 190 minutes

Medical Supply Availability

Grades 6-8

Explore the problem of medical supply availability through design activities and a series of video clips featuring The Tech for Global Good laureate, Zipline.

Lesson: 180 minutes

Organizing Activism

Grades 6-8

Explore the role of the internet in an individuals’ ability to create change. Includes design activities and a series of video clips featuring The Tech for Global Good laureate, Amandla.mobi.

Lesson: 190 minutes

The World’s Water Problem

Grades 6-8

Investigate global water issues through design activities and a series of video clips featuring The Tech for Global Good laureate, Solvatten.

Lesson: 180 minutes

Scientist Stories

Grades 6-12

Reflect on the stories of a diverse set of role models through the Scientist Stories video series in our Solve For Earth exhibition. Students will explore their preconceived notions of scientists, connect with science careers and recognize the qualities they share with scientists.

Lesson: 60 minutes

Circular Economy Challenge

Grades 7-12

Consider the challenge of developing a circular economy. Each team of learners develops and presents ideas for sustainable approaches to how items are made and used.

Lesson: Four sessions, 60 minutes each

Lesson & Videos

New Lesson!

Data Challenge

Grades 7-12

Analyze how The Tech for Global Good laureates use data as a tool to solve problems and affect change. As a team create a plan for collecting and using data to address a problem in your own sphere of influence.

Lesson: 90 minutes

Emerging Technologies

Grades 7-12

Examine environmental issues through the lens of four emerging technologies. Working in teams, students consider the challenges these technologies might face if they were adopted in their own communities.

Lesson: Three 60-minute sessions

Save the Species Challenge

Grades 7-12

Develop a solution that assists governments in protecting species in designated areas.

Lesson: Four sessions, 60 minutes each

Vaccine Distribution Challenge

Grades 7-12

Consider the complexities of infrastructure, public health and sociocultural landscapes in designing a solution to distribute a life saving vaccine.

Lesson: Four sessions, 60 minutes each

To Donate or Not to Donate

Grades 8-12

Students have small group discussion on the topic of whether or not to
donate their bodies to a future Body Worlds exhibition. (Lab connection: Chemistry of Plastination)

Lesson: Two 60-minute sessions