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A World In Motion

Our program brings Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education to life for students in grades K-8 with hands-on activities.

The A World In Motion® (AWIM) program is one of the many examples of SAE involvement in all levels of education - from elementary school to postgraduate to professional development. The program represents an opportunity to make learning fun, have young students discover the exciting application of science principles and share information about rewarding careers in engineering and technical professions. We welcome your involvement in this effort to influence and enhance the ways in which our youth are prepared to meet the future.

By participating in the AWIM program, you are helping to prepare students for the challenges of tomorrow through personal discovery. As the teacher who provides information about exciting, science-related careers - you are playing an important role in the development of our future workforce.

Bring the AWIM program to your school!

Ways you can promote awareness of the AWIM program curriculum in your community:

  • Bring flyers describing the program to your school administrator
  • Share information about the program with your science and math coordinators
  • Network with parents, engineering professionals and others in your community who could volunteer to support your classroom using the program

Learn more about the role of a classroom volunteer.

Funding Resources

SAE International realizes that funding may be an issue for some educators. We want to help educators be able to put the A World In Motion kits in the hands of students. We want to be able to provide teachers with resources for funding. Below are resources that may help with funding for kits.

The Actuarial Foundation
The Actuarial Foundation offers funding of mentoring programs in supporting you schools teaching of mathematics.

Donors form partnerships with specific classrooms providing financial and moral support.

AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Grants are available to all educators.

Chicago Foundation for Education
Chicago Foundation for Education (CFE) offers grants and professional development opportunities to Chicago Public School teachers.

Donors choose is an online charity that makes it easy to help students in need through school donations.

Resources to help educators get started in applying for grants

Fundsnet Services
Fundsnet provides grant writing and fundraising resource assistance.

Listing of Federal Grants

Complete online resource for information related to K-12 grants.

One stop resource to help K-12 teachers find the resources they need.

Kids in Need Foundation
Application for Teacher grants

NEA Foundation
Grants for Educators

National Science Foundation
List of Funding Opportunities

Target Field Trip Grants
Resource for funding learning experiences outside of the classroom

Toyota TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers Program
Toyota Tapestry Grants for Teachers program awards 50 grants to K-12 teachers of science.

Toshiba America Foundation

Toshiba American Foundation Grants Program for K-6 Science and Math Education

Grant Questions

SAE International realizes that funding may be an issue for some educators. We want to help educators be able to put the A World In Motion kits in the hands of students. We want to be able to provide teachers with resources for funding. Below are resources that may help with funding for kits.

Program Description

A World In Motion® (AWIM) is a series of K-12, inquiry-based STEM curricula that are used in the classroom over the course of three to eight weeks. The materials are written to national math and science education standards to facilitate the program's use in the classroom. AWIM is unique because it incorporates volunteer opportunities for STEM professionals in the classroom at various points in the activity. AWIM materials are also available for each grade from 4th through 10th grade, creating a cumulative experience for students.

In each activity, students are presented with a challenge from a fictitious toy company to design a new toy that meets specific functional criteria. For example, the JetToy Challenge is a three-week project for 5th grade students to make balloon-powered toy cars that meet specific criteria like: travels far, carries weight or goes the fastest. Jet propulsion, friction, air resistance, testing and variables are the core scientific concepts students explore. Each kit comes with a teacher manual that includes all lesson plans, quizzes and worksheets. The kits contain reusable materials to serve a class of 36 students.

Usage of Funds

Describe how the money being requested will be used to accomplish the goals and/or objectives of the proposed project. What makes this a cost-effective or efficient project?

Communities Served

Describe to the funder, briefly, the demographics of the students in your classroom, such as gender, race, social and economic status and how classroom experiences like this help to engage and educate more effectively with underserved groups.

Benefits to Students

AWIM is more than just a set of classroom materials and an instruction manual. AWIM was written using the framework of the Engineering Design Experience (EDE). EDE is an applied learning process that takes the student through the following process:

  1. Set Goals: Students are introduced to a challenge scenario. They review a toy company's letter, discuss what is requested of them, and share ideas on how to go about solving the problem. Students begin to work in teams and start recording work in design logs.
  2. Build Knowledge: Many activities are included in this phase as students develop the knowledge and skills they will need to design their own vehicles. The first thing students do is build a model and figure out how it works. In the next several activities, teams vary factors on the model, record observations, and discuss results with the rest of the class. They move from simple explorations and opinions to controlled experiments and performance predictions based on graphs or tables of results.
  3. Design: Student teams design their own toy to meet the requirements stated in the toy company's letter. They determine the values of variables, plan construction, and predict performance based on knowledge from previous activities.
  4. Build and Test: Student teams build and test their design to see how well it meets the performance criteria.
  5. Present: Student teams make presentations of their work to an audience.

AWIM is popular because it is effective. Education research studies indicate that the use of hands-on, inquiry-based curriculum like AWIM diminishes achievement gaps among students. In addition, students with identified learning disabilities learn and comprehend more science concepts when instructed through hands-on curriculum than when taught through the traditional textbook and lecture method. In the Detroit Public Schools, school administrators have independently benchmarked student achievement through the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) that analyzes student achievement for students who have participated in AWIM versus those who have not. Their analysis has concluded that students who participated in AWIM comprehend and transfer knowledge at a statistically significant higher level than both their fellow District non-AWIM classrooms and the state average.

The AWIM curricula make the concepts applicable and understandable for students-they can see these sorts of applied engineering problems in the everyday things around them. This knowledge is more readily applied in other problem-solving situations, which is not the case in most textbook learning, which compartmentalizes information and fails to make the link for students to apply the knowledge in a different situation. , Young people want to be engaged; they are naturally curious and eager to explore. AWIM appeals to these characteristics of young learners, works to spark their interest, and encourages them to further their STEM studies.

Describe your goals for student achievement

Why is what you are proposing make for a rationale, effective choice to use with your students? What quantitative and qualitative outcomes are you looking to achieve with your students? How will this project make that happen?

How will you measure student achievement? How will you know you have met your goals?

Review and think about what your goals are for the students. Develop a set of metrics that will help you evaluate those goals, whether they are attitude changes, grade improvement, etc. Keep in mind, you may have to provide a written report to the group funding your project so your outcomes should be reportable in written form.

Describe the activities in which you and your students will engage in to reach your goals:

Primary (K-3)

Making Music
Students will read about the sounds of nature in Sleep Soundly at Beaver's Inn. After reading this story of each animal's struggle for a peaceful night's sleep, students will explore sound and vibrations and learn how the human eardrum works. After collecting information through hand on lessons, students will engineer a musical instrument according to specific criteria.

Rolling Things
In this challenge, students will explore the story The Three Little Pigs' Sledding Adventure during which they will study toy cars and car performance. Launching the cars from ramps, the students investigate the effects of different ramp heights and car weights have on distance traveled, measuring and recording data gathered through variable testing.

Engineering Inspired By Nature
Students investigate methods in which seeds are dispersed in nature through the story Once Upon a Time in the Woods. The story leads the students to further explore how seeds are dispersed by the wind. Using the designs found in nature, the students develop paper helicopters and parachutes then perform variable testing to improve their performance.

Pinball Designers
After reading Malarkey and theBig Trap, students design a homemade pinball game and explore the behavior of the difference components, such as the pinball, ball traps and bumpers. The students test the launch ramp to explore how launch position affects the behavior of the pinball and then learn how to optimize their games to make them more challenging and interesting.

Straw Rockets
Students explore the early life of Dr. Robert Goddard while reading the biography, The Rocket Age Takes Off. After investigating Goddard's early trials and tribulations in creating the first liquid fueled rocket engine, students begin to uncover the work necessary to optimize a design with the goal of creating a straw rocket that flies the farthest and highest.


Elementary (3-6)

Students construct paper sailboats and test the effect of different sail shapes, sizes, and construction methods to meet specific performance criteria. Friction, forces, the effect of surface area and design are some of the physical phenomena students encounter in this challenge.

Students make balloon-powered toy cars that meet specific performance criteria like; travels far, carries weight, or goes fast. Jet propulsion, friction, air resistance and design are the core scientific concepts students explore in this challenge.

Gravity Cruiser
Student teams design and construct a vehicle that is powered by gravity. A weighted lever connected to an axle by string rotates on its fulcrum; as the weight descends it causes the axle attached to the string to rotate, propelling the cruiser forward. Concepts explored include potential and kinetic energy, friction, inertia, momentum, diameter, circumference, measurement, graphing, and constructing a prototype.

Middle School (6-8)

Gravity Cruiser
Student teams design and construct a vehicle that is powered by gravity. A weighted lever connected to an axle by string rotates on its fulcrum; as the weight descends it causes the axle attached to the string to rotate, propelling the cruiser forward. Concepts explored include potential and kinetic energy, friction, inertia, momentum, diameter, circumference, measurement, graphing, and constructing a prototype.

Fuel Cells
Using a PEM Fuel Cell as the primary power source, student teams design, build, and test prototype vehicles, which they must then present to an audience. The AWIM Fuel Cells Challenge requires students to explore physical science concepts such as force, friction and energy transformations as well as environmental concepts such as green design, and incorporates mathematics concepts as student teams collect, analyze and display data.

Motorized Toy Car
Students develop new designs for electric gear driven toys. The students are involved in writing proposals, drawing sketches, and working with models to develop a plan to meet a specific set of design requirements. Force and friction, simple machines, levers and gears, torque and design are the core scientific concepts covered in this challenge.

Students explore the relationship between force and motion and the effects of weight and lift on a glider. Students learn the relationships between data analysis and variable manipulations, and the importance of understanding consumer demands. The glider activity culminates in a book-signing event where each design team presents its prototype and the class presents its manuscripts to Mobility Press "representatives" and members of the local community.

AWIM Program Training Workshops

These trainings are an introduction to the different challenges in the A World In Motion program. These challenges are offered to all educators and interested participants.

Engage in the Future: Engineering Workshop
Integrate Engineering Design and Inquiry-Based Teaching into the Classroom

For future AWIM live workshops in your area, please contact us at awim@sae.org.


Teacher Awards

Nomination Deadline is March 1, 2020

Recognition and awards are an important part of one's professional life. The A World In Motion program and the SAE Foundation are proud to provide the following recognition opportunities for teaching professionals in helping prepare today's students become tomorrow's science and technology leaders.

Learn more below about how you can nominate a deserving teacher for these awards: