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Behind the NIHF Scenes

How the NIHF Education Team Creates Our STEM Curriculum

On Tuesday January 8, members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) education team traveled to Las Vegas to attend the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES®) as part of their curriculum development process.

Annual attendance at CES is part of our education team’s intensive research efforts, informing the development of a new Camp Invention® curriculum each year.

Camp Invention is one of eight different hands-on STEM programs offered by NIHF, ranging from PreK to professional development.

“We attend about a dozen trade shows, including STEM conferences, educational conferences, toy shows and tech shows to help inform us of new trends and materials we infuse into our new programming,” Alaina Rutledge, NIHF VP of Educational Research and Development said.

Last year, attending CES inspired the education team to design a Camp Invention module that encouraged children to create futuristic vehicles and explore different methods of transportation. By staying up to date on the latest technological advances, NIHF gives campers the opportunity to brainstorm solutions to contemporary problems just beginning to surface.

Inductee Integration

An equally important ingredient to creating our innovative STEM curriculum comes in the form of our Inductee integration. Not only do our world-changing Inductees provide inspiration, but some even help to develop activities, and their inventions and invention journeys influence the program modules themselves.

For example, part of CI’s 2019 Farm Tech™ module was designed with help from 2018 Inductee Jackie Quinn, coinventor of an environmentally safe cleanup technology called Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron, or EZVI. During Quinn’s activity, students explore the properties of hydrophobic sand (which share similar traits to EZVI) and use it to build a device to decontaminate soil for planting healthy plants.

According to Krissy Hostetler, NIHF Education Team Specialist, our Inductee integration is crucial to inspiring the next generation of innovators and is what makes NIHF’s STEM programming special.

“Because we have this relationship with our Inductees, they inspire our Camp curriculum,” Hostetler said. Research from Opportunity Insights shows how a child’s interest in STEM becomes stronger when they feel they have a role model in the STEM field.

NIHF Inductees play an important part in our curriculum because they act as crucial STEM role models for children and encourage them to never stop exploring.

At this year’s CES, we had the exciting opportunity to announce our 2019 Class of Inductees live on the Engadget stage. To learn more about this year’s class, please click here.

Come Visit!

We encourage those attending CES and anyone interested in STEM education for all ages to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter or visit to learn more about the National Inventors Hall of Fame and our exciting STEM programs.

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