Curriculum Types

What’s the difference between TeachEngineering lessons, activities, units, sprinkles and maker challenges?

As you browse and search the collection, notice our five curriculum types: lessons, activities, units, sprinkles, and maker challenges. You can use the search filter to limit your searches to one or more of these document types.

Lessons provide students (and teachers) with the content knowledge to successfully work through the lessons’ corresponding activities. Because TeachEngineering is focused on delivering hands-on, engineering curricula, no standalone lessons are permitted in the collection. Each lesson has at least one associated activity that gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and cement comprehension.

Activities give students a chance to move beyond worksheets and pencils for a more tangible learning experience. TeachEngineering activities often have a design focus so students experience the full or partial engineering design process—a powerful way to generate solutions for any problem. Students gain knowledge through active, project-based learning, rather than from a book, lecture or worksheet. While many activities are standalone, others pair with supporting lessons.

Units are cohesive collections of lessons and activities designed to be taught together. Each unit describes the suggested order to teach the associated lessons and activities. Those lessons and activities are also designed to be conducted on their own, separate from the bigger unit context. Not all lessons and activities are part of a unit, so we indicate any dependencies to other TE documents.

Sprinkles are abbreviated versions of our most popular activities, giving teachers the opportunity to engage students in hands-on engineering in informal learning environments. These “taste of engineering” activities are perfect for before or afterschool clubs! Most Sprinkles take 60 minutes or less to conduct and are designed for quick prep by teachers and non-teachers. We provide them in Spanish, too!

Maker Challenges support the makerspace revolution that is taking the K-12 STEM teaching and learning world by storm! Maker Challenges are teacher-prompted, open-ended project ideas and problems for students to solve in a self-directed, thinking-with-their-hands way that is guided by the design cycle steps. These projects cultivate everyday thinking routines and engineering habits of mind.

Curriculum types diagram