Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • WHST:  Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6-12
  • 9-10:  9th & 10th Grades
  • 7: 
    Conduct short as well as more sustained research
    projects to answer a question (including a selfgenerated
    question) or solve a problem; narrow or
    broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize
    multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating
    understanding of the subject under investigation.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • ELA:  English Language Arts
  • WHST:  Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6-12
  • 9-10:  9th & 10th Grades
  • 8: 
    Gather relevant information from multiple
    authoritative print and digital sources, using
    advanced searches effectively; assess the
    usefulness of each source in answering the
    research question; integrate information into the
    text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas,
    avoiding plagiarism and following a standard
    format for citation.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Real-World Problem Solving: Designing an iPad Case
Lesson Objective: Experience the world of an engineer by designing a new iPad case
Grades 9-12 / Science / Engineering
ELA.WHST.9-10.7 | ELA.WHST.9-10.8

Thought starters

  1. What specific skills are students learning to better prepare them for college and careers?
  2. How is 'refocusing the question' important for 21st century students?
  3. What strategies does Mr. Carpenter use to monitor and assess self-directed learning?
1 Comment
Thank you Mr. Carpenter for sharing this great video! As an instructional coach, it is wonderful to find quality teaching examples that I can share with my teachers. Do you have a site where the finished products are posted? I would love to see what creative genious came from this project!
Recommended (0)


  • 01:00:00 Title Open
    00:00:04 CARPENTER: My name is Steven Carpenter. I’m an engineering and design teacher at the Queens School of Inquiry

    01:00:00 Title Open
    00:00:04 CARPENTER: My name is Steven Carpenter. I’m an engineering and design teacher at the Queens School of Inquiry in Flushing, New York. This class is targeted towards what would happen in the real world and the kinds of research that they’re going to need to do in college and careers.
    01:00:19 CARPETNER: So the project that the students are doing right now is developing an iPad case, specifically that teachers can use when they’re using an iPad in the classroom.
    01:00:33: The first thing they do is they have to do is develop an engineering proposal which consists of writing a statement of the problem, writing a technical background section and then finally developing the design concept and going through the prototyping process and writing a final report. So today they were working on the initial research for their engineering proposal. They’re focusing right now on the problem statement. So they’re doing research into current cases. They’re doing research into the technical specifications of the tablet and trying to come up with an argument with why you need a case specifically for teachers.
    01:01:12 CARPENTER: Before you guys get to work this morning, I want to do a quick lesson on what to do when you reach a dead end in your research.
    01:01:19 CARPENTER: I’ve been taking them through a series of lessons designed around getting them to be conscious about what good research is.
    01:01:27 CARPENTER: This is a popular question that you guys are asking. What do teachers want in an iPad case? And so you go into Google and you get four million, seven hundred fifty thousand search results. None of which actually give you much good information. A good researcher knows that when they can’t find the answer to their research questions, you modify your research question. So we do what’s called re-focusing the question; coming up with a different way to ask the question that will get you the answer that you’re looking for.
    01:01:56 CARPENTER: They needed to realize that sometimes you hit a dead end in your research before I could talk about the solution to the dead end.
    01:02:02 CARPENTER: What if I ask this question instead: how do teachers use iPads in the classroom? It’s a different way of asking it, but when I do this search and I find my six million two hundred and thirty thousand results, a lot of them actually answer this question. Teachers like to plug in the iPad to their projector so they can display what’s on the screen. What can you infer about what a teacher would want?
    01:02:24 GIRL 1: A little hole on the side where you could plug it into the projector?
    01:02:29 CARPENTER: OK, so if you change the focus of your question, you can find answers to your question by making inferences.
    01:02:36 CARPENTER: I do a lot of real time, reactive teaching. And develop the lessons as they’re needed.
    01:02:42 GIRL 1: We did a survey with the teachers so like what they’re needs are in a case and what they like about their cases and what they dislike. So we can like sort of incorporate that into it.
    01:02:54 BOY 1: I’m asking why is an iPad case needed and what parts, what parts of the case are weak.
    01:03:01 BOY 2: We want to know what they want in order to create an iPad case that’s suitable for them.
    01:03:05 BOY 1: I found that the iPad protective case um, can protect from water damage, the screen from breaking.
    01:03:14 CARPENTER: They learn how to look for sources, they learn the basics of citing sources and that you need to paraphrase and incorporate ideas from different sources into your own work.
    01:03:25 BOY 2: The sources that we find, we have to make sure it’s actually relevant, and if, we have to make sure who says it, cause say for example, Wikipedia, a lot of people change it. So we can’t really say it’s authoritative.
    01:03:35 CARPENTER: We give the students as much opportunity in the classroom to do self-directed learning, to really work independently and in groups without a lot of guidance, and then when we see that they’re making a mistake we can turn them in the right direction.
    01:03:54 BOY 3: I wanted to know what you would like for your iPad case to have?
    CARPENTER: Are you interviewing me?
    BOY 3: Yeah.
    CARPENTER: Do you have an interview protocol? Do you have questions written down that you are going to ask? Cause you’re going to want to interview a bunch of teachers right?
    BOY 3: Yeah.
    CARPENTER: Which is an awesome idea. When you’re asking the questions, think about the research that you need. Think about the answers that you need.
    01:04:15 CARPENTER: One big college skill that we focus on is that ability to work in teams. And especially in an engineering course – engineers work in teams.
    01:04:24 CARPENTER: When you’re researching in a team, before you just jump into your work, you’re in a team meeting now, most of you did some homework over the, overnight, you’ve got some new research, before you jump into your research, check in with your teammates.
    01:04:38 BOY 3: I decided that I would get the needs and the dimensions of an iPad case. He would have the features, and the current problems. And Chelsea, she got the materials and durability.
    01:04:52 CARPENTER: By the end of the year, they’ll really have a solid idea of how engineers work and the types of tasks they do in the real world.
    01:05:00 CREDITS

School Details

Queens School Of Inquiry
158-40 76th Road
Queens NY 11366
Population: 561

Data Provided By:



Steven Carpenter
Science Technology / 9 10 11 12 / Teacher



All Grades / All Subjects / Tch Tools

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, All Subjects, Class Culture

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, ELA, Class Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Students / Class Culture