Lemelson-MIT Program Expands Invention Initiative to California

The Lemelson-MIT Program has expanded its activities to encourage middle and high school students to become inventors by inviting schools in California to join those three other states previously involved in its Junior Varsity (JV) InvenTeam initiative.

The initiative, already in place at more than a dozen schools in Massachusetts, Oregon and Texas, delivers activity guides to instructors who can lead their students through the process of invention with the goal of compelling students to solve problems that make science relevant to the real world.

Students in grades 7-10 now at 37 participating schools in the four states receive Campus Connections, the opportunity to visit nearby cooperating institutions like 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Boys & Girls Clubs and museums. Teams receive donations of hand and power tools from corporate sponsor Stanley Black & Decker.

"The JV InvenTeam initiative reinforces integrated STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] learning and offers a structured, fun and team-oriented environment for students to solve problems," said Lemelson-MIT Program Invention Education Officer Leigh Estabrooks.

The JV InvenTeam initiative is an offshoot of the larger Lemelson-MIT Program that awards older high school teams substantial financial awards for projects that solve real-world problems through invention. Last October, the program gave $10,000 each to 14 teams of high school students.

Guided by the principle that invention can solve many of the biggest social and economic challenges of our time, students work on inventions that address problems they've recognized in their local communities and those with global impact.

JV InvenTeam activity guides are available to any educator who is interested.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.