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Lesson Plans

'Invention Education' lesson series where students are the inventors

January 5, 2022

Courtesy of the Lemelson Foundation

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“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 newshourextra@gmail.com with any questions.  If you have a minute, we’d appreciate it if you filled out this lesson feedback form.

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

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 pandemic

 

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: 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



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Media literacy education

What is media literacy?

Media literacy is the ability to access, evaluate and create all types of media, including news media.

All of NewsHour Classroom's resources contain lessons in media literacy, including questions like who produced the piece and what do you know about them?

Start by evaluating this video introducing NewsHour Classroom here.

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