Lemelson-MIT unveils invention program aimed at younger high school students

Photo courtesy of the Lemelson-MIT Program.
Photo courtesy of the Lemelson-MIT Program.

The Lemelson-MIT Program, which was established in 1994 to inspire young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention, said Tuesday that it is mounting a new expanded effort that aims to help high school students engage with the so-called STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics at an earlier age.

In a press release, the program said it is launching the Junior Varsity InvenTeam initiative, a program “designed to cultivate inventive curiosity and skills” in ninth and 10th grade students.

The JV initiative is patterned on an existing InvenTeams effort that targets older students. The new JV initiative focuses on younger high school students at “under-resourced schools,” the program said.

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In a statement, Joshua Schuler, executive director of the Lemelson-MIT Program, said: “The JV InvenTeam initiative engages students in STEM skill-building and valuable after-school opportunities that they might not otherwise experience. 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 initiative begins with pilots in Massachusetts and Texas, with plans to extend to California and the Pacific Northwest in 2015, the release said. Massachusetts schools in the pilot program include Chelsea High School in Chelsea and North High School in Worcester.

The corporate sponsor of the JV effort is Stanley Black & Decker, a company known for hand tools, power tools and related accessories.

Prolific inventor Jerome H. Lemelson and his wife, Dorothy, founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994.

“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,” Dorothy Lemelson, chair of the Lemelson Foundation, said in a statement.