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LEMELSON-MIT PROGRAM LAUNCHES NEW INVENTION INITIATIVE FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS AND TEACHERS

InvenTeam Grants Inspire Young People to Improve Their Communities and Schools; First Recipients Named

CAMBRIDGE, MA, October 15, 2002 — The Lemelson-MIT Program, a leading advocate for invention and innovation among American youth, today launched InvenTeam Grants, a new initiative to foster inventiveness in high school students. Three New England high school teams have been chosen as the inaugural recipients. InvenTeam Grants provide up to $10,000 to teams — composed of students, their teachers and an industry mentor — that are formed to invent something of real benefit to their schools or local communities.

Teams from Hatfield, MA, Littleton, NH and Bow, NH have been selected as the first InvenTeam grant recipients, based on the ingenuity and application of their proposed inventions. All three teams will be working on ambitious projects that could make real contributions in the areas of personal safety and environmental or energy conservation. A total of 59 students and 13 teachers are committed to working on these invention projects over the next six months.

Interested science and math teachers first submitted applications for the grants last spring, highlighting their ability to organize teams of inventive students and successfully implement a grant at their school.

In June, ten semi-finalists were chosen and asked to submit a final application outlining a specific team project. The three winning teams all presented proposals that identify a real-world need or problem, as well as a practical strategy for developing an invention to solve that problem.

“The Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grants were designed to foster creative collaboration and innovation among young people,” said Merton Flemings, director of the Lemelson-MIT Program. “Unlike a science fair or research project, we’re offering an opportunity for them to work with their peers and teachers to solve a real problem for their community’s benefit. We hope that the non-competitive, team-based approach of this new program will generate excitement about the inventive process and enrich the participants’ overall experience.”

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USING THE WEB
The three grantees will spend the next six months developing their invention. They are required to provide monthly online progress reports via the InvenTeam Web site (http://web.mit.edu/invent/www/InvenTeam) to the Lemelson-MIT Program. The InvenTeam Web site will also serve as an educational resource to guide each team through the inventing process, in addition to facilitating communications between the teams and enabling them to share ideas and solve problems collaboratively. Each team will submit a final report to the Lemelson-MIT Program by April 1, 2003, and will be invited to showcase their work at the Lemelson-MIT Program’s annual awards ceremony in Boston later that month.

TEACHERS PLAY A CRITICAL ROLE
Teachers fulfill a vital role within the InvenTeam Grants program — from applying for the grants and forming student teams, to guiding and collaborating with their students throughout the invention process. Teachers serve as supervisors and members of the teams, and will also monitor fund distribution for materials, supplies and attendance at a one-day invention workshop at MIT.

In an effort to recognize the important contribution that teachers make to the success of the InvenTeam Grants initiative, the Lemelson-MIT Program will also provide unrestricted teacher stipends for InvenTeam work done as an extracurricular activity or club.

EXPANDING OUTREACH TO YOUNG PEOPLE
The InvenTeam Grants initiative is a logical evolution of the Lemelson-MIT Program’s annual High School Invention Apprenticeship, which provided a hands-on learning experience to one inventive high school student for each of the past four years. Three regional schools have been awarded InvenTeam Grants for this initial pilot phase. The Lemelson-MIT Program plans to expand InvenTeam Grants next year, awarding 10 grants to high schools nationwide in 2003 and potentially 25 grants by the 2004-05 academic year.

ABOUT THE LEMELSON-MIT PROGRAM
Based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, the Lemelson-MIT Program was established in 1994 by the late independent inventor Jerome H. Lemelson and his wife, Dorothy. The Program’s mission is to raise the stature of inventors and innovators and to foster invention and innovation among young people. It accomplishes this by celebrating inventor/innovator role models through outreach activities and annual awards, including the world’s largest for invention — the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize. The Lemelson-MIT Program is funded by The Lemelson Foundation, which supports other invention initiatives at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Hampshire College, the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance and the University of Nevada, Reno. Last fall, the Lemelson-MIT Program and MIT Press released Inventing Modern America: From the Microwave to the Mouse (www.inventingmodernamerica.com), an illustrated book that profiles 35 American inventors who helped shape the modern world. For more information about the Lemelson-MIT Program and InvenTeam Grants, please visit its Web site at http://web.mit.edu/invent.

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