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Children’s innate ability for creative problem-solving often leads them to innovative solutions that even adults might overlook. However, fostering their passion for innovation can be challenging unless they first develop a self-perception as inventors.
Imagine if every learner dared to pursue their unique questions. What problems would they solve? What groundbreaking discoveries would they make? Fortunately, young inventors worldwide have chosen to believe in themselves, actively pursuing their ideas and becoming a true inspiration for many.
Incorporating young role models into STEM education boosts learners’ confidence and capacity for innovation.
5 Ways Learners Benefit from Young STEM Role Models
- Inspires innovation
- Builds learners’ confidence in their abilities
- Promotes diversity and inclusion
- Encourages learners to pursue their goals
- Fosters a growth mindset
Invite learners to dream big by incorporating STEM role models into their learning experiences. Download your FREE Extraordinary Young Inventors activity sheet and motivate learners to see themselves as the STEM heroes of tomorrow.
Downloading Extraordinary Young Inventors gives you access to:
Trading cards and posters showcasing more remarkable young STEM role models are available at the end of this post. Keep reading and grab your free downloads.
Let’s get inspired! These amazing young inventors are proof that the next great idea can come from anywhere and anyone.
Invention: Earmuffs, 1873
Age at time of invention: 15
Location: Maine, USA
In 1873, Chester Greenwood was frustrated. The scarf he wrapped around his ears refused to stay in place and failed to keep him warm while skating. He developed a prototype, asking his grandmother to sew beaver skins to his secure, wire-frame earmuff design. A few years later, World War I soldiers and kids alike had an effective way to stay warm in the winter.
Invention: Oasis, 2018
Age at time of invention: 10
Location: Texas, USA
Bishop Curry V is on a mission to save young lives. Inspired by a tragic incident in his local community, he came up with a cool idea — a device designed to alert parents and law enforcement if a child is accidentally left alone in a hot car. The Oasis car seat monitor blows cool air to the child until assistance arrives and is also equipped with motion sensors and GPS technology. Through crowdfunding, Curry built a prototype and even received a patent in 2018 for his life-saving invention.
Invention: Robot Earthworm, 2014
Age at time of invention: 13
Location: Texas, USA
A science lesson on earthworms inspired David Cohen to design life-saving robots. Fascinated by their ability to tunnel under layers of dirt, Cohen coded a prototype that could reach and aid disaster survivors trapped beneath rubble. He even included heat sensors and GPS that help locate survivors. Robot earthworms are quite the byte-sized heroes!
David is right — earthworms are incredible! These impressive creatures can inspire your learners too. Download Exploring Earthworms with Dirt Art for a STEAM activity showcasing how earthworms help ecosystems thrive.
Invention: Magnetic Locker Wallpaper, 2006
Age at time of invention: 14
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Sparking joy within your drab school locker is easy thanks to Sarah Buckel. Unhappy with difficult-to-remove locker decorations, Buckel teamed up with her father's magnetic business card manufacturing company, MagnaCard, to design magnetic wallpaper she knew teens would love. Her idea brought in over one million dollars in just one year and has stuck around for purchase ever since.
Invention: Braigo printer, 2014
Age at time of invention: 12
Location: Born in Hasselt, Belgium/ Moved to California, USA
You've heard of the famous kid inventor Louis Braille, but what about the young inventor who made his raise dot system more accessible? Shubham Banerjee’s brick-based Braille printer brought costs for a typical printer-embosser from nearly $2,000 to just a few hundred dollars. While his company Braigo Labs manufactures printers, they also offer open-source documentation, giving anyone free access to build their own Braille printer. How cool!
In the world of STEM, age is just a number, and these young innovators are here to prove it. Maybe the next great innovator is just waiting for that breakthrough lesson to inspire them.
Consider this your sign — use role models to make your STEM learning environment more inclusive, engaging and inspiring. Here are a few more to help you get started.
Download these and other STEAM in History Posters & Trading Cards. Plus, subscribe for exclusive access to more ready-to-use freebies.
Leave a comment to let us know how you are working to inspire and nurture the next generation of inventors.
An experienced elementary educator and science instructional coach, Jessica’s passion for STEM instruction and student-led learning is always at the forefront of her lessons and professional development workshops.
Bishop Curry v. (2023, October 10). United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/kids-educators/young-inventors/bishop-curry-v
How 7 Inventors are making new solutions to global problems. (2020, January 21). Time.com. https://time.com/collection/davos-2020/5765632/young-inventors-changing-the-world/
Johnson, L. (2018, September 19). Ten kid inventors who changed our lives. Inventionland. https://inventionland.com/blog/ten-kid-inventors-that-changed-our-lives/
Lemelson Foundation. (2021, December 14). 5 Young inventors aim to change the world - Invention Notebook - medium. Medium. https://medium.com/invention-notebook/5-young-inventors-aim-to-change-the-world-a8d3e70807d3
Savedge, J. (2021, February 7). 9 young inventors who may just save the world. Treehugger. https://www.treehugger.com/young-inventors-who-may-just-save-the-world-4868617
The Works Museum. (2019, September 9). Inventions by Kids. https://theworks.org/inventions-by-kids/
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