Want to Teach Innovation?

I am fortunate enough to live just a quick-trip-down-I94 from one of the country’s most interesting museums, The Henry Ford. While there as part of a one-day vacation recently, I discovered a treasure trove of resources for teaching students about innovation and creativity.

Home base for the materials is a site called On Innovation. There you can find a number of useful links, but most teachers will want to go immediately to the free (yes, free!) downloadable lesson plans about innovation. The lessons include online videos from innovators such as Steve Wozniak, and all necessary materials. I particularly liked the lessons on characteristics of innovators, in which students study characteristics of various inventors and entrepreneurs and then decide which characteristics the students share with them.

But, as they say in infomercials, that’s not all! You can download a short handbook for developing aspiring innovators, watch or share videos of inventions, or explore a library of video clips of innovators talking about innovation. Any of these can be wonderful resources when studying inventors, preparing for an invention fair, or just seeking out activities that can provide a short dose of creativity when the opportunity presents itself.

Of course The Henry Ford also has other educational resources that can support social studies lessons, including some good online artifacts on the Civil Rights movement.  And if you are in the area, do go. There are few moments more humbling than the chance to sit on Rosa Parks’ bus.

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