Back to Blog
Trends in STEM

The I Can Invent Mindset: Our Approach to Project-Based Learning

In their ongoing efforts to engage students in the classroom, educators have long turned to project-based learning (PBL), a pedagogy that challenges students to work individually or in groups to solve meaningful, real-world challenges. At its most effective, this strategy gives students the autonomy to generate their own solutions and, in the process, build confidence as outside-the-box thinkers.

As our world grows ever more complex, we have the responsibility to prepare today’s students to thrive in uncertain environments. At the National Inventors Hall of Fame®, we believe that having the mindset of an inventor is crucial to flourishing under these conditions.

For this reason, our approach to developing PBL experiences within our education programs takes direct inspiration from the lessons and stories of our National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees – Our Nation’s Greatest Innovators. In this way, our programs are designed to help children develop the I Can Invent® Mindset.

Read on to learn how the components of this mindset combine to create a unique and impactful PBL experience for students across the country!

Design Thinking: Design thinking invites children to apply empathy to the solutions they develop to better meet their users’ needs. Focusing on the people who will use their inventions not only leads to more creative ideas, but also helps students make more intentional and effective decisions.

Confidence: Students build confidence as they transform their ideas into reality. Much like how a muscle grows following targeted exercise, by solving problems that lack simple solutions, students grow more confident in their creative abilities.

Creative Problem Solving: Students are encouraged to embrace their natural curiosity by combining critical and creative thinking to identify problems and develop original, innovative solutions.

STEM: Exploring fields that continue to produce some of the world’s greatest innovations, by engaging in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in a hands-on way, students are better able to understand the relevance of these subjects and develop an interest and passion for them.

Persistence: By using a “create, test and retest” approach to learning, our programs help students develop the resilience and persistence to recover from setbacks and learn that overcoming obstacles is an essential life skill.

Innovation: The desire to improve and innovate is what moves society forward. As students engage in hands-on challenges that involve real-world issues, they can create their own inventions and make improvements to existing ones.

Intellectual Property: Intellectual property (IP) education is a central component to all our programs and allows students to discover the value of their own ideas. Equipped with an understanding of IP, students are better prepared to protect their rights as creators.

Entrepreneurship: Many National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees are also gifted entrepreneurs. By introducing students to basic business skills, our programs help them become leaders who follow their dreams and inspire others to do the same.

Collaboration: Collaboration augments each of the other core aspects of the I Can Invent Mindset, helping students become strong communicators and teammates who produce even more creative ideas and solutions.


Learn More

To learn more about our approach to engaging PBL, we encourage you to speak with one of our invention education specialists and discover how National Inventors Hall of Fame education programs can benefit your school or district.

Related Articles