The Inventors in Your Classroom: Design Thinking for Any Age

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Explore and create : Creation lab

Dr. Kathleen Lanman  
Kids are natural inventors. Learn how to give students confidence in invention, innovation and entrepreneurship by practicing design thinking and problem-solving. You will leave with the tools and skills you need to teach students problem identification, problem-solving, entrepreneurship and creativity skills.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: QR code scanner or internet ready device
paper and writing tool
Topic: Maker activities & programs
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
  • Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.
  • Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.
Additional detail: Student presentation

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this presentation is to model for educators how they can start teaching iterative design thinking and invention in K-12 classrooms. The role of technology in this project depends entirely on the teachers and the students. For example, students may start with cardboard models before progressing to robotics, CAD or 3D printing for their prototyping.

During the demonstration, I will model the classroom activities that the participants will use with their students. I will walk them through a shortened version of the lessons they will be able to access.

Participants will receive links to comprehensive lesson plans and documents that they can use in the classroom. These tools have been adapted to work for both in-person and distance learning.

I have been teaching iterative design in the classroom for five years, and have had students win awards at regional, state and national levels with their inventions.


Content  time  process
warm-up activity  5  online engagement
Intro to Engineering design  10  whole group
problem identification  5  think/pair/share
ideate solutions  10  small groups
design a prototype  15  small groups
Present  your designs 10  small to large groups
Closing/Q and A  5  whole group

Supporting research


2. Invention Education: Preparing The Next Generation of Innovators
Authors: Couch, Stephanie; Skukauskaite, Audra; Green, Judith L.
Technology & Innovation, Volume 20, Number 3, February 2019, pp. 161-163(3)
Publisher: National Academy of Inventors




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Dr. Kathleen Lanman, Booth Middle School

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