Lemelson-MIT Expands Commitment to Inspire Next Generation of Inventors

The Lemelson–MIT Program announced the launch of the Junior Varsity (JV) InvenTeam initiative, designed to cultivate inventive curiosity in ninth and tenth grade students traditionally lacking access to hands-on STEM opportunities.

The Lemelson–MIT Program announced today the launch of the Junior Varsity (JV) InvenTeam initiative, a program designed to cultivate inventive curiosity and skills in ninth and tenth grade students traditionally lacking access to hands-on enrichment opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The initiative begins with pilots in Massachusetts and Texas, with plans to extend to California and the Pacific Northwest in 2015.

The JV InvenTeam initiative, supported by The Lemelson Foundation, builds upon InvenTeams™, the Lemelson-MIT Program’s decade-long experience engaging students in invention education activities. JV InvenTeams practice invention-based design activities and apply their learned skills to create useful and unique projects, including shoe soles and wearable electronics. Students will also learn to present projects at regional capstone events alongside other JV InvenTeams and their varsity counterparts, Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams.

“The JV InvenTeam initiative engages students in STEM skill-building and valuable after-school opportunities that they might not otherwise experience,” said Joshua Schuler, executive director of the Lemelson-MIT Program. “Students learn how to safely use tools and explore new materials, building a strong foundation in scientific and technical skills. Guidebooks and activities created for teachers and students and access to a network of invention education experts provide JV InvenTeams with the resources they need to excel in hands-on STEM opportunities.”

The JV InvenTeam initiative provides corporations, universities, civic groups, nonprofits, and private foundations the opportunity to engage in meaningful mentorship and sponsorship opportunities with ninth and tenth grade students. Corporate sponsor Stanley Black & Decker has generously equipped the initiative with a donation of hand and power tools to help the students develop new skill sets in inventive thinking and doing and bring their inventions to life. Additional partnership opportunities are available for companies interested in cultivating inventiveness among U.S. students.

Meet the 2014 JV InvenTeams

The inaugural JV InvenTeams cohort represents a diverse group of public schools and communities. The Massachusetts grantees are affiliated with 21st Century Community Learning Centers. The Learning Centers offer community connections and sites for after-school enrichment opportunities. Grantees in Texas include science and engineering educators who will work with their students on invention projects inside and outside the classroom.

Massachusetts JV InvenTeams

  • B.M.C. Durfee High School (Fall River)
  • Chelsea High School (Chelsea)
  • North High School (Worcester)
  • Putnam Vocational Tech Academy (Springfield)
  • Triton Regional School District (Byfield)

Texas JV InvenTeams

  • Cypress Springs High School (Cypress)
  • Hastings High School (Houston)
  • KIPP Generations Collegiate High School (Houston)
  • KIPP Sunnyside High School (Houston)
  • Reagan High School (Houston)

“The JV InvenTeam experience will help build students’ confidence in their ability to become inventors, makers, fixers, and entrepreneurs,” said Rachel Alexander, educator from John H. Reagan High School in Houston, Texas. “Our hope is that students learn to collaborate in a competitive environment, communicate ideas, brainstorm, and persist even in the face of adversity.”

"The expansion of the Lemelson-MIT Program to include younger students as members of JV InvenTeams is a natural extension of my husband, Jerry's, commitment to encouraging and providing young people the opportunity to become inventors," said Dorothy Lemelson, chair of The Lemelson Foundation."

For more information about the Lemelson-MIT Program, the JV InvenTeam initiative and partnership opportunities, contact Leigh Estabrooks, Lemelson-MIT Program Invention Education Officer.