INTEGRATING STEM THROUGH INVENTING
Lemelsom-MIT InvenTeams® are groups of high school students, educators and mentors that invent technological solutions to real-world problems of their own choosing. The InvenTeam initiative offers an unparalleled opportunity for high school students to cultivate their creativity and experience invention.
InvenTeam students rely on inquiry and hands-on problem solving as they integrate lessons from science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to develop invention prototypes. Interactive, self-directed learning coupled with STEM curricula are essential for experiencing invention.
Students learn to work in teams, while collaborating with intended users of their inventions. They partner with organizations in their communities to enrich their experiences. Most of all, students learn to move forward through challenges and celebrate "Eureka!" moments.
After the InvenTeam experience, inventive cultures often continue to prosper at schools through further development of InvenTeam prototypes or the pursuit of new invention projects. To date, eleven InvenTeams have patents for their InvenTeam projects, although, patents are not a requirement.
Selection Process and Key Dates
Applications are assessed on project planning, student organization, and potential for community partnerships and other types of collaboration. A strong application is sophisticated and prepared with student assistance. It demonstrates the educator's ability to facilitate a self-directed, hands-on learning project that spans an entire school year. The letter of support from the school’s administration should enthusiastically endorse the educator and the potential of an InvenTeam opportunity for the school. Teams of two or three educators are encouraged, but a lead educator must be designated for a team.
- Educators are expected to document school and community support for year-long invention projects and the ability to identify and solve real-world problems with a team of students.
- Educators selected as finalists receive access to training webinars, coaching, and technical support in order to develop a competitive final application.
Grantee Selection Process
A panel comprising inventors; educators; InvenTeam student alumni; and MIT faculty, staff, and alumni reviews the applications. Diversity is considered among school types, community demographics, and project themes. Up to 35 educators are selected as finalists from the initial applications.
Educators often begin the initial application with minimal youth participants. Youth input is encouraged for the initial application and required for the final application. Many educators recruit youth early to develop a stronger proposal for the initial application.
InvenTeam projects span many fields like assistive devices, environmental technologies, consumer goods, and wearable technology. Inventors are encouraged to identify important problems in their own communities. Local problems tend to highly motivate youth as they create technological solutions to improve the lives of others.
Review past InvenTeams and their invention projects for inspiration.
- Initial application opens: October 27, 2020
- Initial application deadline: April 2021
- Finalist teams develop their final applications: Summer 2021
- Final application deadline: September 2021
- Up to 15 InvenTeams announced: October, 2021
- Invention development by InvenTeam grantees: October 2021-June 2022
- EurekaFest for InvenTeam grantees: mid-June 2022
How to Apply
- Jonathan Schwartz, Colfax High School (CA) InvenTeam teacher in 2012 and 2020
Students from Natick and Newton, Mass. traveled to the White House Science Fair to show their InvenTeam projects to President Barack Obama.
Students epitomize possibilities the InvenTeam initiative provides and serve as role models for 14 new high schools awarded InvenTeam grants for 2010-11.
President Obama hosts the second White House Science Fair celebrating student winners of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions nationwide.