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
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
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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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