InnovaTE3: Girls Innovating with Technology as Entrepreneurial Environmental Engineers | SRI International

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InnovaTE: Girls Innovating with Technology as Entrepreneurial Environmental Engineers

This problem-based curriculum challenges high school girls to develop ecologically sustainable innovations.

The InnovaTE3 curriculum uses a cradle-to-cradle paradigm (rather than cradle to grave) to intrigue and challenge high school girls to develop ecologically sustainable innovations. Developing these innovations motivates girls to explore the STEM fields and careers needed to address these important problems. The InnovaTE3 curriculum, professional development, and assessment materials, developed by SRI, TERC, and Girls Incorporated of Alameda County and funded by NSF, are portable to Girls Inc.'s 1,500 program sites that reach more than 800,000 girls annually.

InnovaTE3 is a problem-based curriculum that capitalizes on girls' interest in design and environmental issues. It provides structured interactions with STEM professionals, including having girls participate in engineering teams and presenting their innovations to STEM professionals. InnovaTE3's use of the innovation process, cradle-to-cradle design approach, an embedded assessment system, and a six-year continuum (two years of Build IT in middle school and four years of InnovaTE3 in high school) of STEM experiences for girls to encourage their interest in STEM careers will provide new insights and opportunities for research on learning STEM concepts in informal learning environments.

InnovaTE3's goals are to encourage girls to

  • value and persist in STEM learning

  • see pathways for themselves to STEM career(s)

  • understand concepts in Earth system science

  • become fluent in innovation and engineering practices

The InnovaTE3 program also seeks to build Girls Inc.'s staff capacity to implement and sustain STEM programming.

Materials developed during the InnovaTE3 project include

  • problem-based curriculum developed using the Understanding by Design approach

  • an assessment system that includes embedded formative assessments and scaffolds for evaluating fluency in earth system science, innovation, and engineering

  • youth staff professional development materials to enhance staff capacity

  • frameworks for involving STEM professionals

  • evaluation instrumentation and research findings

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. (NSF 0833692). 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.