FAQs For Educators

FAQs for Educators

Find answers to educators’ most frequently asked questions.

NIHF develops high-quality STEM programming. We are the only organization with a direct connection to insights from world-changing inventors. We have built an Innovation Ecosystem to introduce children to the innovation process early on and encourage them to continue developing a passion for innovation through their adult life. STEM opportunities we offer include:

Founded in 1973 in partnership with the USPTO, NIHF recognizes and celebrates our nation’s greatest innovators. We use their inspiration and stories to encourage children and young adults to explore, create and invent. Our museum is located in the atrium of the USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia, and is open to the public.

Yes. All our programs are aligned to National Education Standards, including Common Core, English Language Arts, and Next Generation Science Standards. We have also aligned our programs to state standards nationwide. Please contact us at [email protected] for our program alignments to your state standards.

NIHF programs prepare your students to become great leaders. They provide unique STEM experiences incorporating the invaluable knowledge of our NIHF Inductees, who are great career role models for your students. Our programs will empower your students to brainstorm, collaborate and solve realistic problems. Through this process, they will learn that failure is necessary on the path to success, building confidence in their ability to overcome obstacles.

Our programs are developed by a team of education experts who have come from a variety of STEM backgrounds.  All programs are designed using a combination of STEM, 21st Century Learning skills and inquiry-based learning content delivered through a combination of individual and group challenges. Our programs are tested and evaluated before being released to our educational partners. Our programs are unique in that Collegiate Inventors Competition® Finalists and NIHF Inductees are not only featured in our activities, but they also personally have a hand in creating and shaping our curricula.

As a nonprofit organization, NIHF is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. Our PreK through ninth-grade programming provides a national reach with local benefits. We connect inventors who have built the world around us with the innovators of tomorrow. Only NIHF can integrate the stories, insights and unique journeys of our Inductees into PreK through ninth-grade STEM programming that is designed to inspire the next generation of creators, innovators and entrepreneurs.

Yes, NIHF is a nonprofit organization. Please email us at [email protected] to receive a copy of our 501c3 Determination Letter.

NIHF education programs use a scaffolded infrastructure of support to ensure our partners are prepared with the tools and information necessary to implement a positive experience for students, parents and educators. 

Our programs consist of inquiry-based, hands-on curricula with step-by-step instructions, all materials, liability insurance and a central registration system. Additionally, our regional representatives provide guidance and one-on-one coaching, and they are available to answer questions throughout the season.

Our partners also benefit from our unique manufacturing and packaging model. Our vertically integrated manufacturing process makes our programs scalable and seamless nationwide. Our distribution team manages a 60,000-square-foot facility where more than 70,000 boxes are shipped per year, and our quality control team reviews every 10th box for defects and missing items.

NIHF partners with more than 2,800 schools and districts across the country to offer our education programming. We are signing on sites for 2020 daily; please click here to see if a program is being hosted in your community. If you do not see a site near you, please email us at [email protected] and we will be happy to discuss how we might partner with you to provide these hands-on, innovative programs to students in your school or district.

The number of Program Team Members needed to implement a program varies by program and enrollment number.

You can become involved by supporting innovative education and acting as an advocate for STEM learning in your school or district. You may also want to consider becoming an Instructor for a program near you. Serving as an Instructor is a great way to interact with your students in a new, yet familiar instructional setting. If there are no programs scheduled nearby, please reach out to us at [email protected] to find out exactly how easy it is to bring one of our engaging, hands-on programs to your school or district.

Yes. Our programs are hosted by local schools and taught by local educators. Stipends are provided for local educators to direct and instruct our programs. With an inquiry-based approach, each of our programs provides a unique professional development opportunity for educators. Upon completion, our Program Team Members receive a letter of recognition from the United States Patent and Trademark Office and a certificate representing Continuing Educations Units (CEUs) based on the length of the program. Acceptance of CEUs is subject to your state or district continuing education requirements.

The length varies by program, implementation model and need.

Through our parent-paid tuition model, there is no cost to the host school or organization. Host sites need only provide the space, while NIHF provides all promotional materials (including printed flyers), curricula, materials, student T-shirts and take-home items. Many Title I schools/districts and 21st Century Community Learning Centers use their federal funds to provide the program to their students. In addition, NIHF partners with corporate and nonprofit foundations, through grants, to provide funding for underserved children to participate in the Camp Invention program.

Most NIHF programs have been developed and approved for a range of ages and grade levels. Depending on enrollment, Program Team Members will group the students by similar age/grade level. Due to the inquiry-based nature of the program, the students drive their experience.

NIHF programs are implemented by local certified educators. Our programming provides educators with hands-on, practical professional development opportunities in inquiry-based and problem-based learning models. 

NIHF offers a variety of discounts and scholarship opportunities with the assistance of sponsors nationwide. Annually, more than 47,000 underserved students receive scholarship assistance to attend our programs. Additionally, many more students take advantage of various discounts. The specific discounts or scholarships available will vary by program.

NIHF does offer a variety of discounts to help offset the cost of our programming. The specific discount codes and amounts available will vary by program.

Directors and Instructors who participate in Camp Invention, Club Invention and/or Invention Project receive a letter of recognition from the United States Patent and Trademark Office and a certificate representing applicable CEUs. Acceptance of CEUs is subject to your state or district continuing education requirements.

Please email us at [email protected] and we will be happy to discuss how we might partner with you to provide these hands-on, innovative programs to students in your school or district.

CAMP INVENTION

During the Camp Invention program, your students will be introduced to world-changing inventors while working individually and collaboratively to problem solve while completing hands-on STEM challenges that inspire their imaginations!

A typical Camp Invention program is implemented over five days (usually Monday through Friday) for six and one-half hours each day, plus three to four hours of Extended Day activities to meet the needs of working families. However, Camp Invention schedules and curricula are easily modified to accommodate four-day and half-day schedules if a five-day program is not feasible. NIHF continues to produce new curricula each year, so multiple weeks of programming also are easily accommodated.

The number of Program Team Members needed to implement a program varies by program and enrollment number.

The Camp Invention program upholds a 1:8 Program Team Member-to-child ratio. Program Team Members consist of high school students, parent volunteers and certified Instructors.

Extended Day is an option for parents at most Camp Invention programs nationwide. Extended Day was developed as a solution for parents who are unable to send their children to Camp Invention due to their work schedules. Extended Day runs for 50 hours a week, typically from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Extended Day hours are led by a designated Facilitator along with extra morning and afternoon assistants. NIHF provides curricula and materials with a combination of design engineering and downtime activities to allow campers to continue their collaboration and creative thinking.

Director: As a Camp Invention Director, you do not need to be a certified teacher. In this role, you will serve as the liaison between NIHF and your school district. You will work to promote your program during the registration period prior to your camp week, hire your program staff and volunteers, attend learning sessions, coordinate site logistics and serve as the main point of contact during the week of your program, in addition to performing any other duties required for successful program implementation.

Instructor: As a Camp Invention Instructor, you must be a certified teacher. Prior to the program, you will assist the Camp Invention Director with their promotional efforts by distributing flyers and promotional items to students and others in your community to build excitement for your program. During the week of your program, you will inspire and engage campers through hands-on, inquiry-based activities that are part of the overall program theme.

Nearly two decades ago, Camp Invention began formally measuring its impact. During this time, multiple independent evaluations have confirmed both the short- and long-term benefits of our Camp Invention program.

CAMP INVENTION CONNECT

Our at-home program is brand new, so we’re sure you have some questions!

Please contact us at 800-968-4332 or [email protected], and we’d be happy to help you bring this new at-home program to students in your district.

Camp Invention Connect builds on our trusted approach to invention education and reaches beyond what educators, parents and students have come to expect from distance learning by providing a hybrid of on- and off-screen learning and fun. Unlike other at-home options, our flexible program delivers abundant materials direct to each participant’s door and allows parents to choose either a screen-free approach or an enhanced experience that balances virtual collaboration and minimal screen time with independent, hands-on exploration.

Local Camp Invention Connect programs maintain a program team-to-child ratio of 1:20, with additional Coaches added to the team as the number of registrants grows. We ask that Lead Coaches and/or Coaches break each program’s registrants into smaller groups based on age, while also taking into consideration any siblings who have registered together.

Camp Invention Connect is made up of four exciting modules, and Coaches guide participants through one module each day, using the provided Activity Guides, materials, daily scripts and prerecorded videos for turnkey implementation. Coaches follow a daily schedule that includes hosting a virtual kickoff each morning to get campers excited to learn, introduce the day’s module and offer icebreakers to help participants get to know one another. Following this kickoff, participants unplug and independently engage in hands-on activities, using the materials that we ship directly to their homes. We ask that Coaches plan to be available each afternoon to meet with participants for guidance, troubleshooting and collaboration. Coaches will record each group virtual learning session and provide a link to each participant daily via email.

Coaches choose the online platform that works best for district and participant needs.

Attending virtual learning sessions is not required. In fact, the entire program may be completed as a screen-free experience by using the provided materials and Activity Guides. Our online resources and virtual learning sessions are designed to serve as options that enhance the experience through minimal screen time.

When children join virtual learning sessions, they will be given opportunities to get to know other campers in their program. Friendships are often built at traditional, in-person Camp Invention programs, and we intend to create the same opportunities with Camp Invention Connect.

Many of our program’s high-energy activities can be enjoyed outside! The program even includes challenges that encourage outdoor and physical components to keep participants engaged and active!

Just like our traditional Camp Invention program, local Camp Invention Connect programs are led by certified local educators. Participants in local Camp Invention Connect programs will also live in the vicinity of the hosting school/district. Our national program is led by a team of education experts from the National Inventors Hall of Fame® and certified educators across the country.

Yes. All NIHF programs are aligned to National Education Standards, including Common Core, English Language Arts and Next Generation Science Standards. We have also aligned our programs to state standards nationwide. Please contact us at [email protected] for our program alignments to your state standards.

The Lead Coach receives a $200 stipend plus $10 per participant. Coaches receive a $150 stipend plus $5 per participant. Additionally, one free program spot is available for each Lead Coach, Coach and Camp Parent.

Through our parent-paid model, there is no cost to the host school or organization. NIHF provides all curricula and materials, shipping complete packages directly to the homes of our Coaches and participants.

CLUB INVENTION

At Club Invention, students will come together during an afterschool program to work in teams and creatively brainstorm ways to solve everyday challenges while enhancing their understanding of STEM concepts.

Typically, the program runs for five days, one and one-half hours each day. Club Invention is designed to offer flexible implementation options such as once daily for a week, or once a week over a span of more than a month. However, Club Invention schedules and curricula are easily modified to accommodate eight-day schedules of one hour per session if a five-day program is not feasible. There are currently nine Club Invention modules available, so more than one program can be run throughout the course of a school year.

We primarily use a parent-paid model — meaning parents pay the tuition and there is no cost to the host school or organization. If parent funding is not an option, all our education programs also qualify for Title I, Title II, Title III, Title IV, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Migrant Education and Early Learning Challenge funding, as well as state and local district resource funding.

Instructors will inspire students by leading daily hands-on STEM activities. Club Invention Instructors will be required to facilitate approximately seven and one-half to eight hours of programming, along with a minimal amount of prep time before each program day.

INVENTION PROJECT

Created for rising sixth through ninth graders, Invention Project enables children to explore the edges of innovation and imagine the possibilities through brainstorming, designing, engineering and making. Participants learn the process of not only inventing, but also bringing an invention to market. Through hands-on activities, innovators are challenged to create new, inventive designs, but they must also consider principles of business, such as rapid prototyping, market research, shipping and profit.

Invention Project is designed to offer flexible implementation options ranging from 10 sessions and 15 total hours of programming, to 20 sessions and 30 total hours of programming. However, Invention Project schedules and curricula are easily modified to accommodate a variety of circumstances including in-school, afterschool and summer program options. There are currently three Invention Project programs available, so districts can rotate through one program per year without repeating curricula over the course of a student’s middle school attendance.

We primarily use a parent-paid model — meaning parents pay the tuition and there is no cost to the host school or organization. If parent funding is not an option, all our education programs also qualify for Title I, Title II, Title III, Title IV, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Migrant Education and Early Learning Challenge funding, as well as state and local district resource funding.

As an Invention Project Instructor, you must be a certified teacher. Prior to the program, you will lead some promotional efforts by distributing flyers and promotional items to students and others within your community to build excitement for your program. During the program, you will inspire and engage participants through hands-on, inquiry-based activities that are part of the overall program theme.

STEM MAKER LAB

STEM Maker Lab, a licensed program developed by NIHF, is made up of a robust and flexible curriculum designed to enhance the makerspace experience and empower students to problem solve realistic challenges, design prototypes of their ideas and bring their inventions to life using the latest tech tools.

STEM Maker Lab provides 15 hours of programming for 100 students. The programming is broken out into five sessions, with six 30-minute activities per session.

We primarily use a licensing model — meaning districts and organizations purchase a one-time license to use the STEM Maker Lab curricula and materials. All our education programs qualify for Title I, Title II, Title III, Title IV, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Migrant Education and Early Learning Challenge funding, as well as state and local district resource funding.

STEM Maker Lab is led by certified educators. Instructors will inspire students by leading daily hands-on STEM activities. STEM Maker Lab Instructors will be required to facilitate the program using the curricula and materials provided, along with a minimal amount of prep time before each program day.

INVENTION PLAYGROUND

At Invention Playground, students follow their imagination and discover foundational science concepts through hands-on learning, interactive games and guided play.

Invention Playground is comprised of four modules, each with ten 45-minute sessions.

We primarily use a licensing model — meaning districts and organizations purchase a one-time license to use the Invention Playground curricula and materials. All our education programs qualify for Title I, Title II, Title III, Title IV, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Migrant Education and Early Learning Challenge funding, as well as state and local district resource funding.

As an Invention Playground Instructor, you do not need to be a certified teacher. Instructors will inspire students by leading daily hands-on STEM activities. Invention Playground Instructors will be required to facilitate the program using the curricula provided, along with a minimal amount of prep time before each program day.

ACCELERATE

Accelerate is an add-on to our flagship program, Camp Invention. The program combines our Camp Invention principles — creativity, innovation and fun — with mathematical concepts and writing challenges to transform students’ summer learning experience.

Camp Invention plus Accelerate is a complete summer enrichment program that provides over 50 hours of programming with more than 45 games emphasizing literacy and math concepts.

We primarily use a licensing model — meaning districts and organizations purchase a one-time license to use the Accelerate curricula and materials. All our education programs qualify for Title I, Title II, Title III, Title IV, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Migrant Education and Early Learning Challenge funding, as well as state and local district resource funding.

As an Accelerate Instructor, you must be a certified teacher. During the week of your program, you will inspire and engage students through hands-on, inquiry-based activities that are part of the overall program theme.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Participants will experience strategies inspired by world-changing inventors — NIHF Inductees — and designed to foster an innovation mindset they can take back to their classrooms. Our workshops include interactive sessions and hands-on activities that empower innovative and creative thinking. All NIHF Professional Development workshops are customizable to support district objectives and needs.

We invite you to watch this video to see our Professional Development workshops in action.

Yes! We provide on-site Professional Development workshops hosted at a school in your district with all materials included.

Our on-site, Professional Development workshops start at $3,125 for 25 teachers to attend. For more information about Professional Development options, click here.

We require a minimum of 25 teachers for an on-site Professional Development workshop.

We offer three separate workshop opportunities:

No, our Innovation Mindset Workshop is designed as a stand-alone Professional Development opportunity, with no prior NIHF program implementation required.

Email us at [email protected] to learn more about hosting a workshop at your school.