Category Archives: elementary afterschool

posted on May 4, 2020

intooba construction kits for K-6. The benefits of using physical kits for mathematics and engineering in elementary and middle school are:

  • students can learn the vital skills of collaboration, listening, and expressing/explaining their opinions;
  • students learn that they may need to attempt to solve problems multiple times in order to meet the requirements of the problem;
  • students use their hands and minds in construction thereby giving a visual and practical application to math and engineering;
  • teachers can “see” how children are thinking by observing how they construct their engineering/building challenges;
  • teachers can see how children are working together and expressing themselves in collaborative project work.

Elementary engineering
posted on April 8, 2020


This house design is an engineering marvel created by two 11-year-old students without any adult input whatsoever!

The structure was created in two parts – base and top.

Congratulations to these two budding engineers!

CONSTRUCTING CREATIVITY – intooba construction kits

Housing base
Housing top
Complete house
posted on April 3, 2020

From my years of teaching elementary school, a few ideas come to mind on what are essential skills for young people to learn. They are presented here, in no particular order:

  • the ability to substantiate and articulate your thinking and viewpoint
  • the ability to negotiate and work within a group
  • the ability to take information from one place and use it in another
  • the ability and fortitude to try something and rework it to make it better
  • the ability to try something new
  • the capacity and interest to learn about the world
  • the interest in connecting in-school learning to the ‘real world’
  • the opportunity to be both teacher and learner

Finding few engaging manipulatives attached to curriculum to achieve these goals, I have co-developed several products for hands-on collaborative learning in a variety of settings: the classroom, in after-school activities, in homeschooling, and in summer camps. These products offer open-ended opportunities for students to experiment with curriculum supported ideas and creative-free-thinking. They offer the possibility for students to teach and learn from each other, taking time to listen and contribute while using visually stimulating hands-on materials.

The first, the intooba construction kit for K-6, ( is designed for hands-on collaborative learning in STEM/STEAM engineering and math. Rods and connectors are used to solve over 25 engineering challenges, each with several levels of complexity. A math manual is provided to support common core concepts such as shapes, measurement, and estimation.

Our challenging engineering projects encourage collaborative learning in designing, constructing, and budgeting.

diskii math ( is a hands-on math manipulative for grades 1-5. Our instructor manual offers ideas on learning such topics as algebra, logic, fractions, and decimals, and is based on common core standards. Students may learn both as teacher and student when working collaboratively with diskii tokens. Each token is associated with a unique name, color, and face offering three variables for problem creators.  Users can vary the complexity of the product by assigning an age-appropriate value to each token when creating challenges. We have developed both physical and downloadable token sets.

At Ozzla, Inc. (, we have created a series of Ozzla Sparks for English Language Arts (ELA) and advanced English Language Learners (ELL) educators, tutors, and homeschool learners. Ozzla Sparks combine professional international images with many lesson ideas reflecting common core standards. We have divided Ozzla Sparks into two offerings. Pre-made lesson units are one to two week units on a specific topic. Ozzla Sparks Collections offer users the opportunity to explore many topics in more open-ended and creative ways. Each Ozzla Spark Collection offers 36 unique image cards which are numbered and bordered for individual, paired/sibling and group/family activities. These may be downloaded, and/or viewed on our website.

All of our materials require minimal instruction to set-up and use. No professional development is required for these easy-to-understand products which are supported by instructor and student manuals where appropriate.

posted on August 10, 2019

As elementary school teachers, we developed an entrepreneurial after-school program for grades 3-5.

We felt that it was important for younger students to develop a solid understanding of business and the economy. Our program consisted of three components:
(a) visiting local businesses, noting physical positioning, product, and range of service;
(b) playing a virtual stock market game: GAME HERE;and
(c) creating a product from concept to design to packaging and marketing.

I have not seen many programs on this topic. Recently, however, I met an elementary educator who has developed an extensive curriculum in business development ideas for elementary and middle school students. Eva Foxwell’s materials include curriculum material on entrepreneurship, business skills, and career development: CLICK HERE

We do not know where students’ interests and passions will lead them later in life, but it is certainly advantageous to offer early insight in careers, entrepreneurship, business, and economics.