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September 24, 2019

18 lesson plans teaching the power of invention

Learn how students can solve real-world problems through the power of invention and innovation. Check out these 18 lesson plans to explore inventions that are battling invasive species and climate change and building empathy in young people.


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.


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 “impact inventing” 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: Inventing in a pandemic for the tiniest among us

Lesson plan: Inventing beyond recycling

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

Lesson plan: How innovation in renewable energy protects the environment

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