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Lesson Plans

Invention Education: 27 lessons where students are the inventors!

January 5, 2022


Courtesy of the Lemelson Foundation

Full Lesson



“If we want a sustainable world, we need inventors.” — John Warner, AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador

Learn how students can solve real-world problems through NewsHour Classroom’s “Invention Education” lesson series. Explore inventions that are battling invasive species and climate change and building empathy in young people. All lessons work for remote learning.

What is invention education?

Invention education is a student-centered and project-based approach to solving problems. The journey along the way is in many ways just as important as the final product.

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 were part of the invention process.


Here’s a brief look at how MIT-Lemelson InvenTeams use the invention process to help young people design their own inventions:

  • 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 and share photos using #PBSInvention and @NewsHourExtra via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and we’ll send you a prize! Email with any questions.  If you have a minute, we’d appreciate it if you filled out this lesson feedback form.
  • Be on the lookout for exciting new updates to our Invention Education lessons coming Fall 2022!

If you would like to give your students a fun glimpse of what invention is about, play these Kahoots on our “Power of Invention” page.


Lesson plan: Inventing smarter cities to minimize extreme heat


Lesson plan: Invent ways to bring wind power to your community


Lesson plan: Learn from NASA’s Martian helicopter how to invent for any environment


Lesson plan: Design a thermoelectric generator to help meet UN Sustainable Development Goals


Lesson plan: Inventing beetle bike helmets


Lesson plan: Invent ways to help get your community vaccinated


Lesson plan: Why this athlete invented a sports concussion sensor


Lesson plan: How Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) inventions continue to save lives during COVID

Lesson plan: Help your loved ones monitor health at home through invention


Lesson plan: Inventing beyond recycling


Lesson plan: How mimicking nature inspires new inventions


Lesson plan: How animals help us design new inventions to solve environmental problems


Lesson plan: Design an invention to keep first responders safe


Lesson plan: Inventing “assistive devices” that give people their independence


Lesson plan: How student inventors can help solve the Earth’s plastic problem


Lesson plan: How inventions will land humans on Mars


Lesson plan: How inventions are saving sea turtles


Lesson plan: Solar invention makes safety and production levels shine


Lesson plan: How mice could help fight Lyme Disease


Lesson plan: Is solar power the future of energy?


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: Bot or not? How fake social media accounts could influence voting

Lesson plan: An elevator for everyone — Improving on long-standing inventions with inventions of your own


Lesson plan: How innovation in renewable energy protects the environment


Lesson plan: Invent apps that help others and build empathy

*NewsHour lesson via PBS Learning Media’s interactive platform

Write us with any questions, concerns or lesson ideas at