Encourage students to invent, while developing problem-solving skills through hands-on activities.
A new transdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning, known as invention education, is gaining popularity in the United States and abroad. Young people are learning ways inventors find and solve problems that matter through inquiry-based, hands-on projects.
They are also learning how to build solutions in ways that are environmentally friendly, how to protect their ideas and creations, and how to bring solutions to intended audiences (i.e. entrepreneurship).
Students and teachers tell us stories about the knowledge and human skills they gain that help prepare them for the future of work and to be leaders in their communities. They also tell us that the experience is fun and transformational to their lives. We invite you to take advantage of the time you may be spending at home. Gather your tools, re-usable materials and dive right into the activities we have on this site.
The Lemelson-MIT (LMIT) Program located within the School of Engineering at MIT has helped 257 teams of high school students and their teachers learn to invent. Ten teams have earned patents for their work. Prof. Michael Cima, LMIT’s Faculty Director, Prof. Sangeeta Bhatia, the 2014 Lemelson-MIT Prize winner, and MIT Media Lab alumnus and 2014 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize winner, David Sengeh, offer their insights into ways of helping young people learn to invent.
What can families do to use this time to help young people get started on the path to becoming a young inventor?
Prof. Michael Cima on the Pathway to Invention
What 3 pieces of advice would you offer to young inventors?
Prof. Michael Cima on Advice for Young Inventors
What characteristics do inventors share?
Prof. Sangeeta Bhatia on Invention
What’s important to think about when solving a problem?
David Sengeh on Invention Tips for Young People
Please click through these slides to get started! If the audio doesn’t work or if you prefer to read, you can simply read the text by clicking on the slides and pressing the “s” key to open Presenter View.
Please read these general safety notes before continuing!
We have included five activities included in this package. You can spend as long as you want or need on each activity: 20 minutes or many hours. You can complete the activities in order or jump in where you are most comfortable.
- Activity 1: Creating Your Tool Kit
- Activity 2: Grab Bag Inventing
- Activity 3: Giving and Receiving Feedback
- Activity 4: Iteration
- Activity 5: Adding to the Problem Bank