Spotlight on Makers & Doers
Any inventor will tell you, creativity, collaboration and problem-solving skills are critical to their process. In grade 4, students apply all those skills to the engineering design process and create products that can be used in daily life. The Grade 4 Invention Fair is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the lower school year.
"Our invention projects start with brainstorming. I ask the kids to think about problems they run into all the time and then come up with ways to fix them,” science teacher Mindy Roper said. “That gets the process started, but there are a lot of steps and learning opportunities before they get to a finished product.”
Once they have an idea, students research and analyze needs in the marketplace, construct prototypes for testing and refine their inventions based on user input. They also create marketing and advertising plans. The invention unit helps students learn time management, the value of making and correcting mistakes — and builds skills they’ll use again when they tackle their first science fair projects in grade 5.