Bring the Young Inventors’ Program® into the Classroom
Learn how to introduce a unit on inventive thinking, which includes the production of an original invention or Rube Goldberg® Machine used to spark creativity, ingenuity, and motivation in all students. The topic of invention can also be used as an interdisciplinary theme to tie curriculum areas together. Our Teacher's Guide and Young Inventor's Program Kit (YIP KIT) includes strategies for encouraging discovery and creative problem-solving among students and provides hands-on activities to use in the classroom. YIP Kits also include the supplies necessary to successfully and easily implement the program. Additionally, the Guide provides teachers with fascinating information about the history of invention and inventors and the important role they have played in our history!
YIP KIT CONSULTATIONS & TEACHER TRAINING
Teacher support is readily available as you work your way through the program. Workshops are conducted regularly online and in person during the summer months at no cost. These opportunities are available to current YIP teachers that want professional development and collaboration with their peers as well as new teachers and administrators looking to introduce the program to their school.
Not sure how the program can be integrated in your school or have questions about getting started? If you need training assistance, mentoring or help getting your school involved please call Program Director Nicole MacMillan at (603) 228-4530, or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thinking Skills Activities
To encourage creative and productive thinking, start working with some creative thinking processes, including brainstorming, SCAMPER, FFOE, and Creative Problem Solving. Decide how much time you can devote to this area, keeping in mind that these thinking skills can be used in other subject areas as well.
Now that your students are familiar with ways to think creatively, they are ready to begin inventing. Student inventors may wish to work in teams. Two students per team is ideal. Students, especially young students, may "reinvent the wheel" unknowingly. If this happens that's fine. The process of invention is by far the more important goal. You can encourage older students to conduct product research to determine if their inventions are original. By stressing and encouraging simplicity, your students will see the process as fun, rather than intimidating.
The invention unit can be used in a number of ways and in numerous disciplines. It is up to you how you wish to proceed. Inventing does take time. It is strongly suggested that six weeks (minimum) be allowed for the incubation of ideas, experimentation with form and process, and revision of plans and outcomes. The program is flexible! It can be done as an after-school activity, as an integrated classroom activity, or as an optional science project for students who may benefit from a learning by doing environment. It is up to the educator, how the program is implemented in the school setting. If winners from the School Invention Conventions are identified by early March at the latest, they can be registered for the Regional Invention Convention put on by the Academy of Applied Science. Keep in mind that inventing does take time. It is strongly suggested that six weeks (minimum) be allowed for the incubation of ideas, experimentation with form and process, and revision of plans and outcomes. A possible timeline, taken from the Meant to Invent!® Teacher's Guide, might look something like this:
Weeks One and Two
Encourage and develop inventive thinking skills.
Center class activities and discussion around inventors and the concepts of invention and innovation.
Introduce the value of journal-keeping and provide our INVENTION LOG.
Brainstorm problems that may be solved with an invention and possible solutions.
Interview stakeholders about challenges they face in every-day life.
Establish classroom work groups where collaboration and idea-sharing can occur.
Introduce the planning stage to students and the concept of design thinking.
Make a working model of invention.
Select a name for invention.
Introduce concepts of marketing.
Introduce concepts of patents and how they work.
Design and prepare display board to showcase invention.
Practice presenting skills.
While the students progress with their ideas, your major function as teacher is to provide encouragement and continue to show a lively interest. A classroom or SCHOOL INVENTION CONVENTION is a rewarding culmination activity. It can be as simple or as elaborate as your time allows! We would love your most inventive student winners to join us at our REGIONAL INVENTION CONVENTION event!