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:
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.
Not only does the study of invention connect 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 from the past or creating one of their own, students can make connections. The study of invention is the study of our past and our impact throughout recorded history. Invention touches all aspects of life and can help our students connect the past to the present and to the future.
If teachers want to keep their sense of humor, be effective in today's classrooms, and prepare our youth for life in the 21st century, their 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 "person in a white coat?" Inventors are simply people, male and female, young an old, who solve problems. Every time someone comes up with a new solution to a problem, he or she is an inventor.
There is another point of relevance to the study of invention for teachers, parents, and administrators to consider. National and state academic goals and standards all speak to making connections, and studying unifying themes. In mathematics, science, social students and language arts, there are numerous goals and proficiency standards that can easily and clearly be addressed through the study of invention, inventors, and inventing.
What better way to address the 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 trying 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.