Academy of Applied Science
Young Inventors Program
A unit on inventive thinking, which includes the production of an original invention, is limited only by the imaginations of the teachers and students. You might say, "with everything else I have to teach, why take the time for inventing?"
Research has shown that inventing will:
--Stimulate and foster creativity
--Enhance self image
--Develop the essential skills of logical thinking, creative problem solving, intellectual risk taking and communication
--Relate the scientific method to real life
--Fire up the inventive spirit in our culture
And these are all good reasons for studying inventors, inventions, and the inventive process. But for teachers who understand learners and learning, there are three overarching reasons for incorporating these ideas into classrooms and the curriculum ? they connect, they are relevant, and they allow for choice.
Connections ? Not only does the does the study of invention connect between disciplines, it connects schools to life. It's "science with a purpose," as one student very aptly put it. An invention is the concrete application of the scientific process. Whether studying inventions in the past or creating one of their own, students can make connections. The study of invention is the study of man's past and his impact throughout recorded history and beyond. It touches all aspects of life and can help our students connect the past to the present and to the future.
Relevance ? If we want to keep smiling, be effective in today's classrooms, and prepare our youth for life in the 21st century, our lessons had better be relevant! And what's more relevant than studying inventions? Everything our students see and use was invented by someone ? why not them? Who is an inventor anyway? Is an inventor just a "guy in a white coat with glasses and big hair?" Inventors are simply people, male and female, young an old, who solve problems. Every time someone comes with a new solution to a problem, he or she is an inventor.
There is another point of relevance for teachers, parents, and administrators, to the study of invention. The newly published national goals and state academic standards all speak to making connections, and studying unifying themes. In mathematics, science, social students and language arts, there are numerous goals an proficiency standards that can easily and clearly be address through the study of invention, inventors, and inventing.
Choice ? What better way to address the recent work done by Howard Gardner on multiple intelligences than to allow students to follow their strengths and interests through inventing. This is a chance for each student to be an expert, to become empowered, and to exhibit his or her individuality. Whether following their interests in a research project, a traditional science project, or try their hand at inventing, the element of choice can be highly motivating. All types of learners can find success when multiple production possibilities are acceptable.