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August 9, 2017

Five lesson plans teaching the power of invention

Looking for the next big idea? Teach your students about the invention process and how they can learn how to solve problems through innovation. Use the five lessons below to explore inventions that are battling invasive species, finding untapped renewable energy and more.

Let your students know that someone — likely a team of people — invented nearly all of the things we use on a daily basis: tablets and TVs, cars and stoplights, apps and video games, sneakers and sports equipment, etc. All of these products make up the invention process. Here’s a brief look at the invention process based on the MIT-Lemelson’s InvenTeams program (modified for the lessons below):

  • Concept phase: Identify a problem, conduct research and brainstorm solutions.
  • Design phase: Create a plan, calculate costs, select the best solution and determine necessary resources.
  • Build phase: Sketch, model or build a prototype.
  • Review and redesign phase: Review the invention for strengths and weaknesses.
  • Share phase: Present the invention to your class then share photos of your invention using #PBSInvention via NewsHour Extra’s TwitterInstagram or Facebook, and we’ll send you a PBS stress ball and USB drive! Email newshourextra@gmail.com with any questions or feedback.

Lesson plan: How new inventions help people with injuries and disabilities

Lesson plan: Invent your own device to battle invasive species

Lesson plan: Invent an app that helps your community

Lesson plan: How innovation in renewable energy protects the environmentLesson plan: Bot or not? How fake social media accounts could influence voting

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