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September 7, 2018

10 lesson plans on invention that will change the world

Learn how to solve problems through the power of invention and innovation. Use these 10 lessons written by STEM teachers for PBS NewsHour Extra to explore inventions that are battling invasive species, finding untapped renewable energy and more.


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 “Impact Inventing” could solve public health issues

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: How innovation in renewable energy protects the environment

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


What is invention education?

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 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 @NewsHourExtra via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and we’ll send you a prize! Email newshourextra@gmail.com with any questions or feedback.

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