Invention Education as a Context for Children’s Identity Exploration

A Summary of the Groundbreaking Research into Invention-Related Self-Perceptions and Inventive Identity Development

At the National Inventors Hall of Fame®, as part of our mission to advance the spirit of innovation across the country, not only have we developed invention education curricula for over 30 years, but we remain committed to advancing the study of this pedagogy through continuous research.

Made possible by the generous support of the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Lemelson Foundation and Overdeck Family Foundation, NIHF partnered with the Center for Educational Partnerships at Old Dominion University to conduct groundbreaking research that explores inventive mindset development and how such a mindset can help a student identify as an “innovator.”

The culmination of this work resulted in an article published in August 2021 in the Journal of STEM Outreach titled “Invention Education as a Context for Children’s Identity Exploration,” an important contribution to the burgeoning field of invention education.

This paper provides a helpful summary of the important findings from the paper. Highlights include:

  • An explanation of what invention education is and why its strategies in this learning climate are needed now more than ever
  • The difference in invention-related self-perceptions between boys and girls
  • The features of a Camp Invention® experience that are conducive for inventive identity exploration
  • The important differences between a personal inventive identity, and a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) identity

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