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Inventors and Inventions in STEM

Everyday we are creating and learning. Our students are asked to adjust and challenge themselves and within each day we utilize an invention that helps make our life easier! Everything around us was once an idea in someone's brain. If we take that into consideration, we can look around us and see a room of endless possibilities that have changed our lives. They surround us...from the doors we walk in and out of each day, to the chairs we sit on. 

Some inventions are mistakes, while others have been carefully calculated out and tested until the inventor gets it just right.  Using the invention concept is a perfect way to introduce STEM into your classroom. 

Springboard Ideas:

-Have your students start with listing the top 5-10 most important inventions ever made
-Use a list of top inventions in the last 100 years to inspire their top 5 list and then have them discuss with a partner their reasoning
-head to the google patents site and have students research a new invention. Some are funny and some are useful, however allow students to assess an invention that is trying to get a patent. We use toy patents and allow students to rate the patent by usefulness, creativity, practicality, and whether they would want someone to buy it for them as a gift. 
-in our reading books, often we have a unit or story that centers around an inventor. Our book focuses on Thomas Edison and the lightbulb. Not all inventors are remembered as well as Edison. Use the American Experience site to show students some much appreciated inventions and their not so known inventors. 
-Kids love to learn about kids inventing things. This is a great way for your students to see that kids are truly inventors. With 10 inventions that changed our lives with childrens' creations inventionland is a great starting point for your invention lessons! 
-You can also share amazing inventions by kids using a youtube video as well.  They can say they saw it on the Ellen Show first! 
-Need an online site for your students to design and invent? Try PBS Kids Design Squad! 
-ThoughtCo has great articles for your students to read. Their are tons of great inventor and invention articles to add a bit of reading inspiration to springboard from!

Time to Invent! 

There are many ways to create an invention opportunity in your classroom. From invention conventions where students create a prototype of what they would invent to creating a robot that could do a job for  you to make your life easier...allowing students to be creative, think outside the box, and start to learn the engineering design model is important! Inventing and creating allows for students to be innovative. As a science teacher, it helps me find more ways to increase science literacy and expand student critical thinking and problem solving skills. 

Ideas for classroom inventions:

-The national inventors hall of fame has great free teacher resources...this is a great place to start
-The Young Inventor's Program has competitions, this can be a great after school class or GT challenge!
-I always start with my Rube Goldberg unit to get them thinking creatively! 
-This year, we started with my Robot pack. We used items around the classroom and objects that we collected to create a robot that could help make our life easier!
-To tie science and inventions together, don't forget about simple machines!

Thanks for stopping by! Thomas Edison once said, “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” To have our students show their creativity, give them items you find in your classroom and let them create! From Rube Goldberg to robots...to simple machines the sky is the limit!


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