Back to Blog
Diversity in STEM

How Invention Education Encourages Self-Expression

When students feel they are able to express their ideas freely and they have agency in their own learning, research has shown that this can lead to increased engagement, decreased classroom disruptions, and an overall improved sense of belonging to their school and classmates.

It’s for this reason that school districts across the country continue to integrate teaching techniques that embrace open-ended learning and challenge students to solve problems that lack simple solutions.

Sometimes, teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in this style can prove challenging due to a lack of planning time for educators. But by incorporating some invention education strategies, districts can give students additional opportunities to express themselves and authentically engage with what they’re learning.


Creating Opportunities for Student Exploration

At its core, invention education pedagogy challenges students to solve real-world problems through the construction of invention prototypes. This hands-on approach gives students control over their learning, allowing them to follow their interests and passions.

At the National Inventors Hall of Fame®, we believe invention education is most effective when it is informed by innovators who have a proven track record of success and impact. Fortunately, we have the unique opportunity to collaborate with some of the world’s most accomplished inventors: our Inductees. With their help, we have identified the essential skills and traits that unlock creative potential. We call this the I Can Invent® Mindset.

The I Can Invent Mindset is at the heart all our education programs and ensures that all participants develop the attributes demonstrated by the world’s greatest inventors.

Read below to learn how each component of this mindset encourages students to express themselves.

Design Thinking: While making thoughtful design decisions that meet the needs of their invention’s intended users and working around various design constraints, children are given the freedom to develop unique prototypes that solve a given challenge.

Confidence: By creating a supportive environment where risk taking is encouraged, children build the confidence to try new things and learn to see themselves as capable creators.

Creative Problem Solving: Children practice critical and creative thinking as they develop their own innovative solutions to complex problems.

STEM: When educators apply invention education strategies, their students are empowered to approach STEM in ways that are relevant to them. Equipped with this new relationship toward these subjects, children can develop an interest in them and allow their curiosity to guide their learning.

Persistence: Using a “create, test and retest” approach to learning fosters perseverance and resilience, encouraging children to bounce back from setbacks.

Innovation: The most effective education is hands-on in nature, and by engaging in hands-on innovation challenges involving real-world issues, children are encouraged to dream up new inventions and improve existing ones.

Intellectual Property: With an understanding of intellectual property, children learn that their ideas have value and that they can protect their rights as creators.

Entrepreneurship: Exploring entrepreneurship and building basic business skills can help children become creative risk takers and self-assured leaders who follow their dreams and inspire others to do the same.

Collaboration: As children team up, they learn the value of working with others to accomplish big goals and build essential life skills like expressing ideas in a group setting.


Bring Invention Education to Your District Today

Interested in bringing invention education to your district? Visit our website to learn more!

Related Articles