21st Century Themes Teacher Resources
Find 21st Century Themes educational ideas and activities
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Failure: Seeds of Innovation
"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!" Through this assignment, emerging engineers examine how failed experiments are simply part of the process of an outstanding design. They begin with some reading about the microwave oven, Post-It® notes, Silly Putty™, and other commonly used items that resulted only after previous mishaps.
3rd - 12th Technology & Engineering CCSS: Adaptable
USA Today: Global Awareness Edition
Bring global awareness into the classroom. Young politically minded learners read an article about the ban on arms sales to China and discuss political concerns about this issue. They research other embargos on foreign trade and use a graphic organizer to consider the impact of having it lifted would produce.
6th - 8th Social Studies & History
Putin: 'No way back' from democracy
Imagine a meeting between President Bush and Putin. Get your class thinking about global awareness, democracy, and totalitarian modes of government. They examine how two leaders approach major governmental issues and run their countries in different ways.
7th - 12th Social Studies & History
New Review Inventions and Innovation
What effect did innovations like the Bessemer Process, the light bulb, and the telephone have on the industrialization of the United States? Here is a nice graphic organizer that will help your young historians approach this question.
5th - 11th Social Studies & History CCSS: Adaptable
Weather: A Global Awareness Tour
Upper graders and middle schoolers make up a scenario of planning outdoor concert locations for their favorite musical group. They do this by looking into the weather patterns in a variety of tropical regions. They research where and when severe weather happens in these regions, and work together to come up with a proposed itinerary for their band that should keep them "dry" during their performances.
5th - 8th Science
Innovation for Good
Many historical innovations were created for the common good. Get your students ready for life as a critical thinker with this activity which defines the differences between innovation and invention. They will conduct Internet research, engage in a class discussion, and then create a virtual innovation.
6th - 12th Science
Entrepreneurship: merit badge
The Boy Scouts of America need to know their stuff to get an entrepreneurship merit badge. Test your class or use some of the questions from this eight page packet. They'll fill out short answer questions about entrepreneurship in order to get a merit badge, or to show what they know.
5th - 12th 21st Century Skills
Take Action Haiti
Using an online internet simulation, learners will role-play various members of a family living in rural Haiti. The objective is to increase global awareness by requiring them to consider poverty as an obstacle to education in Haiti. Learners will discuss advocacy methods to confront poverty in the nation.
6th - 12th Social Studies & History
Global Grover: Bowl Dance
In Mongolia they do a traditional dance with bowls on their heads. Grover's little friend Charlene is practicing to be a bowl dancer like the older girls. She attends a special school for bowl dancers and then practices every day until she is ready to perform.
4 mins Pre-K - K All
Papyrus to PDA
What a great project. Graphic arts students consider the social, political, and economic impact made by a chosen invention. They build an argument to substantiate their reasons for choosing said invention. They create an oral presentation supported by visual media to inform and persuade their peers in seeing their point of view.
9th - 12th Social Studies & History
How Farming Planted the Seeds for the Internet
Is farming the greatest innovation in all of history? Watch as modern technology and advancements are traced back to the invention of farming in the Neolithic Revolution. The video illustrates how agricultural surplus led to division of labor in groups of people, which in turn would eventually result in the establishment of cities and central features of civilizations, such as central government, organized religion, systems of writing, etc.
4 mins 7th - 12th Science CCSS: Adaptable
The 2010 immigration bill passed in Arizona provides class members with an opportunity to examine various perspectives of the immigration debate by watching news videos, reading interview, editorials, and viewing images. Discussion questions, activities, and assessment strategies are included in the richly detailed plan.
7th - 12th English Language Arts CCSS: Adaptable
Lesson 1: Confronting Climate Change: Seeing
Examine the effects of climate change on the water cycle in the first of three lessons using the IBM THINK app, which walks through the process of innovation. Learners look back through history to see which tools might help them study climate change, then perform a controlled experiment simulating the hydrologic cycle under different environmental conditions.
6th - 12th Science CCSS: Adaptable
The DIY: A Hands-On Look at the New Industrial Revolution
Upper graders explore the new industrial revolution and how the tech boom in recent years is similar and different to the Industrial Revolution of the past. They watch a video, explore web sites, and discuss what they see. They work together to manufacture their own product using technological tools.
10th - 12th Social Studies & History
Making Informed Environmental Decisions
Using an actual case study about the Lake Turkana Dam, class members examine the controversy surrounding the issue. Pupils take on the role of one of the stakeholders, discuss the multiple perspectives involved, explore the geography of the area in question, and compose decision statements.
9th - 12th Science CCSS: Designed
Lesson 1: Fight the Flu: Seeing
The flu has been a deadly epidemic many times in the past. By examining technological innovations throughout history, then simulating the spread of disease from person to person through a classroom investigation, and finishing up with exploring what other ways disease can be spread, middle or high schoolers begin to see where the flu comes from and what steps might be taken to prevent its spread.
8th - 12th Science CCSS: Adaptable
Mapping World Heritage
World heritage sites can be found around the globe. Many of these sites are noted for their importance in representing culture and location. Each activity included in this resource focuses on latitude/longitude, map skills, finding locations with coordinates, and discussing the importance of historic site preservation.
3rd - 8th Social Studies & History CCSS: Adaptable
Electric Car: American Industry and Innovation
Explore the concept of electrical cars through technology and language arts activities. Learners will research advancements in car building and watch "Electric Car: American Industry and Innovation." They will then create marketing campaigns to sell the cars.
7th - 12th English Language Arts