How to Help Children Develop Persistence

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Trends in STEM

How to Help Children Develop Persistence

One of the most important lessons a child can learn is to not give up when confronted with a challenging situation, but instead to persevere and overcome it.

Can kids learn to become more persistent? Fortunately, the answer is yes! In a landmark study led by Angela Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, researchers found that not only can individuals cultivate grit (the passion and perseverance for long-term goals) over time, but that a person’s grit score was more predictive of long-term success than other factors including GPA, skill and intelligence.

In an interview with The New York Times, Duckworth explained that one of the keys to developing grit is to first identify something that interests you. Then, “…once you’ve fostered an interest, then, and only then, can you do the kind of difficult, effortful and sometimes frustrating practice that truly makes you better,” Duckworth said. “Another thing is really maintaining a sense of hope or resilience, even when there are setbacks.”


Developing Persistence Through Invention Education

As the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects continues to grow due to the world’s increasing complexity, invention education has become a popular way for children to explore these fields in engaging ways. Defined as learning through the hands-on act of discovering, or “inventing” solutions to real-world problems, this approach also represents an effective way to help build a child’s persistence.

At Camp Invention®, participants are given the ability to discover in ways that embrace their interests and passions. Because there are no prescribed “right” or “wrong” ways to complete each day’s set of challenges and activities, children are able to pursue solutions that naturally interest them.

In this summer’s brand-new Road Rally activity, for example, campers learn how to adapt by modifying their very own customizable cars to traverse across the land, and they create prototype elements that could help them move through the air and even underwater! Using the same type of prototyping process shared by some of the world’s most influential inventors, campers learn that improvement is always possible through a little hard work and creativity.


Persistence and the Innovation Mindset

In collaboration with our National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees, innovators whose discoveries continue to improve the lives of people everywhere, we have identified nine fundamental skills and traits that can empower children throughout their lives. We call this the Innovation Mindset, and it informs the development of all our education programs.

Persistence is a crucial component of the Innovation Mindset because it teaches children to recover from setbacks and overcome obstacles to reach their goals. Because our programs foster perseverance through a “create, test and retest” approach to learning, students build the strength and confidence to take on any challenges that stand in their way.


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