USA TODAY Education and Lockheed Martin have teamed together to develop a program designed to strengthen students skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The program, I^2 Inspiring Innovation, is designed to provide USA TODAY newspapers and supporting educational lessons to 4th through 12th grade classrooms nationwide.

Download the Mentor Guide

Lockheed Martin and USA TODAY invite you to share your experiences and expertise with students and teachers in your community. The activities in this guide are designed to help you make the most of your visits to the I 2 — Inspiring Innovations classrooms that you are sponsoring.Included in this guide are:

– introductory activities that will help you present yourself to students in a fun, educational manner.

– class activities — longer, more in-depth lessons that you teach students.

– a closing activity — a worksheet you can leave with students to finish at their teacher’s discretion. If you like, you can invite students to mail the completed activities to your office.

Of course, you can also create your own activities from scratch or modify a lesson that reflects your interests and skills.

Lockheed Martin is committed to strengthening America’s science, technology, engineering and math excellence through education. We extend our sincere thanks to you for contributing to this vital mission.

Introductory Activities

1. Clues

Select five items that literally or figuratively represent your area of expertise, the history of
your company or some other relevant topic. Place the objects in a paper bag. After telling students
your name, explain that you are about to display five items related to your career, company,
a scientific topic, etc. Slowly hold up each item. Then, give students five minutes to
explain in writing how the items are connected. Encourage them to be imaginative; their explanations
can be either plausible of funny. Ask several students to share their ideas. Then, reveal
the significance of each object. Modification: Choose five intriguing newspaper headlines that
give clues to your identity. Follow the same procedures outlined above.

2. Imagination

Introduce yourself to students. Explain that Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more
important than knowledge.” Ask students if they can identify an invention or solution — either
in history or in their own lives — that supports Einstein’s notion. Then, tell students that you
are going to test Einstein’s statement by asking them to develop the most imaginative solution
possible to a problem that you currently or frequently face in your job. Describe the problem,
and ask student pairs (or groups) to devise a solution. Reiterate that you want to hear innovative
(even crazy!) ideas, not standard ones. If you like, give an award for the idea that impresses
you the most. After, explain a little more about your career, the challenges it poses and how
you use your imagination on the job.

3. What am I?

Write a short story (a few paragraphs) from the perspective of a piece of unusual technology, a
mathematical formula or other object or concept. (Don’t choose something too obvious, like a computer.)
Use the first-person voice and tell about a day in your life. After introducing yourself, read
your story and ask students to guess what you are personifying. Then, explain the object or concept
and why it intrigues you.

4. Jargon

Very briefly, introduce yourself. Next, write five aerospace, engineering or technological terms
on the board. (Choose jargon that students will find interesting and that you can use as a
springboard for entertaining anecdotes about your career.) Then, direct students to find a partner
and develop a creative definition for each word or phrase. (This should take no more than
10 minutes.) After, ask a few pairs to share their definitions for the first term. Tell an anecdote
about the term that explains its meaning. Do the same for the other jargon.

5. Truth is stranger than fiction

Very briefly, introduce yourself. Next, tell students that you are going to write five statements
about yourself (related to your career) on the board. Two will be true and three will be false.
(Choose true statements that are unusual and that make good conversation-starters.) Ask several
students to identify the two true statements. After listening to all guesses, explain which
statements are true, and tell an anecdote about each. If you wish, ask one or two students to
write five statements on the board and have you guess which are true and which are false. (This
will show that you are interested in them, too.)

6. Top 10 list

Introduce yourself to students. Then, in the style of David Letterman, present students with a
“Top 10” (or five) list — e.g, “Top 10 things you should know about computer scientists” (or your
area of expertise). Some of the items on your list should be serious, and others humorous. As
you count down your list, tell students a short anecdote about each item. Later, when you are
leaving the class, you can ask students to create a top five or 10 list that details what they
learned about the topic you examined together.

Class Activities

1. Invention and innovation

Lockheed Martin’s website states that the company’s “continued tradition of innovation … has propelled
us into space, helped protect the freedoms of people around the world and made our lives
safer, easier, more productive and more secure.” Ask students to explain the difference between
invention and innovation. Next, direct pairs to identify a specific invention that has accomplished
each of the feats noted above (e.g., propelled humans into space, protected freedom, enhanced safety/security,
made life easier and helped people become more productive). Then, challenge students
to list at least one innovation that improved each technology. Finally, ask each pair to develop an
entirely new way to enhance one of the inventions on their list. Invite students to share their ideas.

2. “Traveling Time and Space”

Prior to your visit, go to the Lockheed Martin website and print the Traveling Time and Space
chronology. (From the home page, go to “About Us” and click on “History.”) Print one copy of the
first page “History” for each student, and three copies of the information from each decade. In the
classroom, divide students into 10 groups. Give each group the introductory page, plus the information
on a particular decade. Ask them to identify several ways that the achievements listed have
personally affected their generation. Finally, direct groups to develop a rap, poem, dance, mime,
abstract artwork or other creative product about a particular event on the timeline or the decade
as a whole. After 20-30 minutes, have each group share their work.

3. STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

(Before visiting the class, make copies of the graphic organizer and the two USA TODAY articles
on the following pages.) Explain to students that while many schools teach subjects in separate
classes, disciplines in the work world are interconnected. Moreover, it would be impossible for
a company to be truly innovative without close collaboration between experts from many
fields. Tell students that they will be examining the connections between four disciplines that
are vital to your industry — science, technology, engineering and math. Divide the class into
small groups of three or four. Give half of the groups the Mars rover article, and the other half,
the story on designing future cities. (Distribute one graphic per group.) Then, direct groups to
read their assigned story and work together to complete the graphic organizer. Emphasize that
students will need to make inferences about the information in the article. The stories will not
spell out the answers for them. Give students approximately 30 minutes to complete their
work. Then, ask groups to share their answers and ideas.