Get It Write

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In this activity, learners explore how pens have been engineered and re-engineered over time. Learners work as a team to develop a working pen out of everyday items. They sketch their plans, identify materials they'll need for construction, build their pen, test it, and present their design to the group.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Student Resource Sheets
  • Student Worksheets
  • Straws
  • Paper
  • String
  • Tape
  • Wire
  • Paper clips
  • Feathers/quills
  • Glue
  • Foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Leaves
  • Wooden sticks
  • Water
  • Washable liquid watercolor or diluted washable paint
  • Flour or corn starch (can be used as a thickener)
  • Sponge


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
    • Technology
      • Information and Communication
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Solutions
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Gravity
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology
      • Technology and History
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, IEEE,