Past Forward

Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

We hope you enjoyed this week’s experiences focused on Challenge the Rules. Were you inspired to create or invent something? Please share your story or photos with us on social media using #WeAreInnovationNation!  

If you missed anything from our series this past week, check out the recordings and resources below. We hope that you will join us this upcoming week to explore new themes drawn from our Model i Learning Framework, focusing on how innovators Collaborate . 

What We Covered This Week 
How can we challenge the way things are done to innovate? 

STEAM Stories 
Our STEAM story of the week was The Girl Who Ran: Bobbi Gibb, the First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon by Kristina Yee and Frances Poletti.  Bobbi wanted to run in the Boston Marathon but was told she couldn’t. She was told girls can’t run, especially in marathons, but Bobbi didn’t think that was fair. How did she Challenge the Rules to achiever her dream?   

Then we learned about the many ways we use fabric with a lesson from our early childhood curriculum, Innovate for Tots and a coloring page featuring the Hanks Silk Mill.  Watch the video here

Innovation Journeys Live!
On Wednesday we hope you were able to join us for an Innovation Journey Live and learn the connection between Women, Weaving and Technology with The Henry Ford’s Curator of Communications and Information Technology, Kristen Gallerneaux. Learn more about the role of women and punch card looms in the development of computer technology. Watch the video here

Kid Inventor
In our Friday segment we learned how 10th graders Bridgette Castronovo and Taylor McNeal from Kennesaw, Georgia, collaborated to create a Biodegradable Straw. As an alternative to polymer and paper straws, the team created a biodegradable straw by extracting cellulose pulp from corn husks to form a base and coating the base in a chitosan solution. Three different solutions and variations of blending times were tested to determine the best case for straw durability. Bridgette and Taylor were First-Place High School Division Winners at the K12 InVenture Prize Invention Convention.  Watch video here

Learn more below about how our Innovate Curricular activities can keep your child innovating here.

Resource Highlight: Model i Primer+, Invention Convention Curriculum
In our continued efforts to help parents, students and educators during these times of uncertainty, The Henry Ford is providing helpful tips that assist parents in adapting its educational tools for implementation at home.  

This week we are highlighting lessons from both the Model i Primer+ and Invention Convention Curriculum:

The five lesson plans from our  Model i Primer+, named after the Actions of Innovation, are designed as opportunities for students to practice the Actions and Habits introduced in the Primer. Each lesson includes age-appropriate versions for grades 2-5, 6-8, and 9-12. In keeping with this week’s theme of Collaborate, focus on the Uncover lesson. All you need for the lesson is a computer to access any historical photograph, such as those available on The Henry Ford website under Digital Collections.  

Check out the activities for Uncover and share your experience and follow others as they engage in our digital learning opportunities using the hashtag #WeAreInnovationNation.  

You can learn more about our Invention Convention Curriculum, just click on the link.  Invention Convention is a program open to students in grades K-12. The lessons teach students skills that will give young innovators the chance to design, build, and pitch an original invention to their peers and judges. Competitions are held at local or regional levels and those qualifying move on to state competition. State qualifiers can then compete at the Invention Convention U.S. Nationals held here at The Henry Ford. This week we focused on the Scamper activity.

Parents and educators can learn more about Model i at:   https://www.thehenryford.org/education/teaching-innovation/modeli/ 

educational resources, innovation learning, Model i

We hope you enjoyed this week’s experiences focused on Learning from Failure. Were you inspired to create or invent something? Please share your story or photos with us on social media using #WeAreInnovationNation!

If you missed anything from our series this past week, check out the recordings and resources below. We hope that you will join us this upcoming week to explore new themes drawn from our Model i Learning Framework, focusing on how innovators Challenge the Rules.

What We Covered This Week
How can we learn from our mistakes?

Social Tiles_w10d1-01
STEAM Stories
Our STEAM story of the week was After the Fall, How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat. Everyone knows that Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, but what happened after?  How did he summon the courage to overcome his fears?

Then we learned about the many ways we use rocks with a lesson from  our early childhood curriculum, Innovate for Tots and a coloring page featuring the Cotswold Cottage. Watch the video here.

Social Tiles_w10d2-02

#InnovationNation Tuesdays

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educational resources, Model i, innovation learning

sagan-1
Once we complete our Sagan, it will seamlessly integrate artifacts, textual content, furnishings, and custom-created 3D artwork--something like this example we’ve been playing around with.

For nearly a decade, The Henry Ford has been adding items to our Digital Collections, which now contain over 95,000 digitized artifacts. For almost as long, we’ve been exploring creative ways to work with those world-renowned assets--from including our entire digitized collection on touch-screen kiosks in Driving America back in 2012 to linking tens of thousands of digital artifacts using curator- and AI-created connections in our latest exhibit, Intersection of Innovation.

Some of the best explorations of our digitized collections come through collaborations with partners who can take our content to new levels. Working with other organizations and companies to figure out how we can simultaneously highlight both their platforms and technologies and our own digital assets is a challenge in innovation. Today, we’re excited to tease one such partnership project that is coming soon: a new “Sagan,” created in collaboration with Saganworks.


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This is what our Sagan looked like before we added any furnishings or artifacts to the space. Different collections will be highlighted in each “room” within the Sagan.

SaganWorksLogoSaganworks is an Ann Arbor, Michigan–based technology startup with a big goal--to bring multimedia into 3D space and change the way people interact with either their personal content or traditionally in-person spaces, such as museums and storefronts. Individuals can build a virtual room, otherwise known as a Sagan, capable of storing content in a wide variety of file formats, and virtually walk through their rooms like a gallery. With the combination of audio, visuals and a wide variety of customizations to choose from (such as furniture and room layout), individuals are able to experience their Sagans holistically, making Saganworks not just an alternative to in-person spaces, but a unique adventure.

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technology, by Shanley Carlton, by Casey Hyde, by Ellice Engdahl, by Samantha Johnson, Saganworks, entrepreneurship, digital collections

Over the last two years, if you happened to peek through the windows of The Henry Ford’s conservation lab windows, you might have seen a large, wooden, box-like object on the table. You may have speculated about what it was – a camera, a projector? The answer is that this device is called a “Megalethoscope” – a Victorian photography viewer created optical illusions using light and photographic images.

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The Megalethoscope during treatment in the lab.

The Megalethoscope is one of thousands of objects from The Henry Ford’s Collections Storage Building (CSB) that is being conserved, digitized, and rehoused thanks to a ‘Museums for America Collections Stewardship’ grant from the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS), received in October 2017. Heading behind the scenes, this blog will explain the process that an artifact moves through from conservation to photography—and eventually, becoming viewable on Digital Collections.  

Conservation Treatment

Once an artifact is selected, tagged, and inventoried, it is given a preliminary cleaning with a vacuum and transported into the Conservation Lab.

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(Left) Photo of how the Megalethoscope was found in storage; (Center) The instruction panel that shows how the Megalethoscope works; (Right) The Megalethoscope mounted correctly on its stand.

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The top panels on the Megalethoscope before and after it was cleaned and waxed.

Prior to cleaning, a small spot was tested to determine the best method and materials to use.  A mild detergent, diluted in distilled water did the best cleaning job without damaging the wood. The cleaning solution was gently rubbed on the wood surfaces with swabs to remove all of the dirt and grime, and then the surface was cleared with distilled water to remove soap residue. To bring back the shine of the wood finish, furniture wax was applied and buffed.


Years of storage on its end had caused the joints of the Megalethoscope’s viewer to separate (highlighted in red). Damaged areas were repaired removing the old, dried-up glue, and replacing it with fresh glue.

Large shrinkage cracks had developed in the two side panels that serve as light reflectors, and in the back panel that covers a large pane of glass. Shrinkage cracks develop when wood expands and contracts because temperature and humidity levels fluctuate too much.

Since the cracks were big enough to see through (approximately 1/8th inch wide) thin strips of Japanese tissue paper were soaked with a reversible adhesive, then dried, to fill each of the cracks. As each strip of tissue was compacted into the cracks, the adhesive was activated with solvent. This caused the dry paper to adhere to the edges of the crack and create a bridge. This fill was smoothed down flush with the rest of the wood panel, providing an even surface that could be in-painted to match the adjoining wood panels.

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Using Japanese tissue to fill shrinkage cracks.

Watercolor and acrylic paints were used on the paper fills to hide the repairs and to paint in the large scratches and abrasions that covered the body of the Megalethoscope. To give the painted areas the same shine as the wood finish, a topcoat of acrylic gloss medium was applied.

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(Left) In-painting the paper filled cracks; (Right) Paper fills after they were painted (in green).

To finish the treatment, the glass and mirror pieces of the Megalethoscope were cleaned with a solution of ethanol and distilled water, then wiped with microfiber cloths to prevent streaking. Any metal parts were cleaned with a mild solvent to remove small areas of corrosion and then waxed and buffed them to bring back their shine.

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The Megalethoscope (Left) before and (Right) after conservation treatment.

Investigating Megalethoscope Slides
During treatment, an original photographic slide left inside of the Megalethoscope was discovered. This led to additional investigation. The slide depicted is of the Ponte dei Sospiri in Venice (the Bridge of Sighs). We wondered if there were more of these slides in the collection and after checking our collections database, found a box labeled “Megalethoscope Slides” in the Benson Ford Research Center (BFRC). The contents of the box were not catalogued, so we decided we needed to go to the Archives to see for ourselves!

When the box was brought to the Reading Room at the BFRC, we opened the box and found 21 slides, all in good condition! Many of the slides were photographs of Italy and Paris, plus a handful depicting interiors.

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(Top) The Ponte dei Sospiri slide with handwritten inscription (Bottom) inside the Megalethoscope after it was taken out of storage.

Megalethoscope slides are large, multi-layered assemblies. Each slide consists of an albumen photographic image with pin pricks matching the areas where there is a light source or reflection (ex. an illuminated cityscape). Behind it are layers of colored tissue or cellophane and sometimes extra imagery when lit from behind; finally, there is a backing of a thinner, translucent canvas. All of this is stretched over a curved wooden frame. The curve creates a stereo view of the image which encompasses the viewer’s sight lines when they place their head into the Megalethoscope, much the way today’s virtual reality goggles work. Light is directed onto the slide to create different effects.

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Cross section of a Megalethoscope slide. (Image courtesy of The American Institute for Conservation & Artistic Works, Photographic Materials Group Journal, Topics in Photographic Preservation 1999, Vol. 8, Art.5 (pp.23-30).

The slide that was found with the Megalethoscope in storage did not have any color effects, so we were excited to find that the majority of the slides in our archives had variations in color and optical illusions. The slides were moved to the conservation lab, where their surfaces were gently vacuumed. A smoke sponge removed any remaining dust and dirt. A few of the slides had small punctures or tears to the canvas, but since they were stable, we decided to not repair them at the present. We were thrilled to be able to reunite the slides with the Megalethoscope and have a fully functioning artifact!

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(Top Left & Right) In "St. Mark's Square” you can see how people appear when light is applied to the image.

Photographing the Megalethoscope

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The Megalethoscope on a cart for ease of movement during photography.

There are many steps that artifacts go through to be digitized and made available online, especially for objects as complex as the Megalethoscope. After the slides were conserved and cataloged, they were brought to the photography studio. For 3-D artifacts like the Megalethoscope, photography typically includes an image of the front, the back, and each side, if necessary. Photos serve as a reference material for historical researchers, and they document the condition of the artifact at that time.

The slides needed to be photographed in two ways: as they appeared in normal light, and as they would be seen through the Megalethoscope.  Our senior photographer Rudy Ruzicska came up with a very clever arrangement to recreate this effect by placing two sets of milk crates with a sheet of Plexiglas suspended between them. He placed lights directly under and at an acute angle above the Plexiglas. The slides were placed in the middle of the Plexiglas with black paper border around the edges to prevent any light glare.

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Light arrangement for photography of Megalethoscope slides. (Left) Rudy shooting with his custom set-up during the dark shot of the “St. Mark’s Square” slide; (Right) A closer view of the set-up.

The Megalethoscope images were then photographed under normal (“daytime”) light to document their appearance, and with their “nighttime” illumination effect by turning off the studio lights. The first time we saw the images illuminated in the dark, we all gasped – they became so vibrant and magical! 

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A selection of the final images, with color and effects as they would have been seen inside the Megalethoscope.

The Megalethoscope was re-housed in a specially designed box which will store the unit and its base together safely, along with all of the slides. It was then moved to permanent storage in the Main Storage Building (MSB), as have most of the artifacts that we have worked on during the IMLS grant.

Thank you for joining me on this behind-the-scenes journey of an artifact from storage, to conservation, and through to digitization. I hope you enjoyed the ride!


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Alicia Halligan is an IMLS Conservation Specialist at The Henry Ford


IMLS grant, digitization, conservation, collections care, by Alicia Halligan, #Behind The Scenes @ The Henry Ford

We hope you enjoyed this week’s experiences focused on Taking Risks. Were you inspired to create or invent something? Please share your story or photos with us on social media using #WeAreInnovationNation!

If you missed anything from our series this past week, check out the recordings and resources below. We hope that you will join us this upcoming week to explore new themes drawn from our Model i Learning Framework, focusing on how innovators Learn from Failure.

What We Covered This Week
How can we be brave and do new things to make the world a better place?

STEAM Stories
Our STEAM story of the week was I Will Be Fierce by Bea Birdsong and illustrated by Nidhi Chanani. I Will Be Fierce was a 2020 Southern Book Prize Finalist and is a powerful picture book about courage, confidence, kindness, and finding the extraordinary in everyday moments. Check it out with your favorite online reading service. Then we learned about the many ways we use metal and fabric with a lesson from  our early childhood curriculum, Innovate for Tots and a coloring page featuring George Washington’s Camp Bed.

#InnovationNation Tuesdays

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Model i, educational resources, innovation learning

We hope you enjoyed this week’s experiences focused on Staying Curious. Were you inspired to create or invent something? Please share your story or photos with us on social media using #WeAreInnovationNation!

If you missed anything from our series this past week, check out the recordings and resources below. We hope that you will join us this upcoming week to explore new themes drawn from our Model i Learning Framework, focusing on how innovators Take Risks.

What We Covered This Week
How can we turn our questions into ideas, and our ideas into actions?

STEAM Stories
Our STEAM story of the week was I Have an Idea by Herve Tullet and then we learned about the many ways we use paper with a lesson from  our early childhood curriculum, Innovate for Tots. Watch the here.

#InnovationNation Tuesdays
See this week's highlighted clips below:

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Model i, educational resources, innovation learning

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We hope you enjoyed this week’s experiences focused on Being Empathetic. Were you inspired to show empathy?  To create or invent? Please share your story or photos with us on social media using #WeAreInnovationNation!

If you missed anything from our series this past week, check out the recordings and resources below. We hope that you will join us this upcoming week to explore new themes drawn from our Model i Learning Framework, focusing on Stay Curious.

What We Covered This Week
How can empathy, or understanding the needs of others, help us solve problems

STEAM Stories
Join us for a reading of Get Up, Stand Up by Bob Marley and Cedella Marley and then learn about wood and fabric using a lesson from  our early childhood curriculum, Innovate for Tots. Watch the video here.

#InnovationNation Tuesdays
See our Wright Brothers Cycle Shop segments here.

Innovation Journeys Live!
Join us for an Innovation Journey Live and learn how innovations in hearing and speech technologies provide accessibility options for many during our interview with Kristen Gallerneaux, Communication and Information Technology.

#THFCuratorChat
Get a feel for what Curator of Transportation Matt Anderson shared during our most recent #THFCuratorChat, highlighting our partners at AAA.

Kid Inventor Profile
In our Friday segment we will learn how empathy for others inspired this Invention Convention US Nationals winner to develop software to help doctors screen for cancer.  This week we  feature Vidya Srinivas, Invention Convention Michigan’s grand prize winner and first place winner in the 12th grade category at Nationals last year. Her invention, AutoImage is a cell-counting and identifying software that is intended to minimize the amount of time that researchers spend on manual labor during the cancer research process, enabling faster, more accurate, and more cost-effective cancer research. Watch video here.

Learn more below about how our Invention Convention Curriculum activities can to keep your child innovating here:

Resource Highlight: Innovate Curriculum

In our continued efforts to help parents, students and educators during these times of uncertainty, The Henry Ford is providing helpful tips that assist parents in adapting its educational tools for implementation at home.

This week we are again highlighting a lesson from the Innovate Curriculum. Designed to accelerate core discipline performance, Innovate helps middle and high school students connect their subject matter to real-world applications through innovation understanding and skills development, unleashing every student’s potential to develop groundbreaking ideas. Students journey from learning the habits and actions of innovators to unleashing the innovator within.

Create your free account today to access four interactive courses featuring: 
- Primary source digital artifacts from The Henry Ford’s Archive of American Innovation
- Dynamic lessons with real-life stories
- Learn-by-doing activities and interactive content that helps prepare students and their prototypes to participate in competitions
- Exclusive interviews with past and present visionaries
- Celebrity-led tours of today’s most exciting start-ups
Facilitator guides that help educators and parents guide their students through the courses

Keep in mind that these courses were designed to be completed in a classroom setting, so feel free to adapt the courses for home use. These courses can be done on their own or in any order, but the recommended sequence is as follows:

INNOVATE 101: Inspire Our Future as an Innovative Thinker 
Students learn about the unique qualities that make an innovator, and how innovative thinking can not only solve problems but create world-changing social transformation. 

INNOVATE 102: Solve Our Problems
Students learn how innovators uncover insights, define problems, design prototypes and optimize solutions.

INNOVATE 103: Unleash Your Ideas as You Learn to Think Like an Entrepreneur 
Students discover how to move ideas forward by identifying customers, what to do to protect their ideas, how to communicate with an audience and how to pitch to investors. 

INNOVATE 104: Activate Your Potential
Students get to apply what they have learned and turn an idea into action. They will uncover an issue, come up with a solution, identify the users and create a unique prototype that they develop, showcase and pitch to others.

If your child is inspired to create an innovation of their own, check out Innovate 102, Lesson 2: Learning What People Need. Use the Innovate 102 facilitator’s guide and the tips below to guide your experience.

To prep for Lesson 2, you may want to first look at Innovate 102, Lesson 1: Uncovering a Need.

Begin by discussing what “innovation” means. You can use Innovate 101, Lesson 1 to help frame the conversation.

Spend some time talking about the Actions of Innovation and the Habits of an Innovator – which ones have you used before? Which ones are less familiar? See page 2.

Encourage your child to start keeping a “design journal” – see page 1 of the facilitator guide for more details.

Talk about why it is important to talk to people who will use your innovation.

Think about the difference between closed- and open-ended questions. Why are open-ended questions more valuable when trying to find out what people need?

In this lesson, entrepreneur Will Allen demonstrates the power of open-ended questions. Can your child think of times when they asked open-ended questions? Closed-ended questions? Was there a difference in the types of answers they received?

Practice asking open-ended questions with your child. Learning how to understand what people need is an important skill for all ages!
Parents and educators can learn more about Model i here.

Thanks to AAA Auto Club Group for sponsoring this week’s events.

Model i, educational resources, innovation learning

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We hope you enjoyed this week’s experiences focused on Power and Energy. Were you inspired to create or invent something? Please share your photos with us on social media using #WeAreInnovationNation!

If you missed anything from our series this past week, check out the recordings and resources below. We hope that you will join us this upcoming week to explore new themes drawn from our Model i Learning Framework, beginning with Be Empathetic.

What We Covered This Week
Power & Energy: How is power created? 

STEAM Stories
Join us for a reading of Wind by Marion Dane Bauer and then learn about wood and metal using a lesson from our early childhood curriculum, Innovate for Tots. Watch the video here

#Innovation Nation
Watch segments related to power and energy from The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation here.

Innovation Journeys Live!
Join us for an Innovation Journey Live when Jessica Robinson, our Entrepreneur in Residence, and Matt Anderson, our Curator of Transportation, talk about electric and autonomous cars. Watch the video here

Kid Inventor
Our Friday segment will be a little different this week as we hear from Attorney Michael “Max” Sneyd, an attorney at Kerr, Russell and Weber, PLC in Detroit, Michigan all about patents, copyrights and trademarks. This is a great opportunity for all of our invention convention participants to learn the difference between each, what you might need and what might not apply to your invention, what to consider when developing your invention, how to apply for a patent, copyright, or trademark, how long it takes, and how families can support their inventors in the application process. Watch the interview here.

Learn more below about how our Invention Convention Curriculum activities can to keep your child innovating.

Resource Highlight: Invention convention Curriculum
In our continued efforts to help parents, students and educators during these times of uncertainty, The Henry Ford is providing helpful tips that assist parents in adapting its educational tools for implementation at home.

This week we are highlighting a lesson from the Invention Convention Curriculum. The program is open to students in grades K-12. The lessons teach students skills that will give young innovators the chance to design, build, and pitch an original invention to their peers and judges.  Competitions are held at local or regional levels and those qualifying move on to state competition.  State qualifiers can then compete at the Invention Convention U.S. Nationals held here at The Henry Ford.

Our Invention Convention curriculum takes young inventors through the complete process of inventing. The activities in our curriculum take young inventors through the seven steps of the invention process.  These 7 steps provide the framework for the heart of the Invention Convention curriculum. The lessons are organized by step:
- Identifying
- Understanding
- Ideating
- Designing
- Building
- Testing
- Communicating

Entrepreneurship lessons are also added. We have designed the activities to build skills in invention and engineering while supporting the creation of your students’ very own inventions. You can learn more about the Invention Convention Curriculum Link here. Parents and educators can learn more about Model i here.

Janice Warju is Coordinator, Learning Content Development, at The Henry Ford.

by Janice Warju, Invention Convention Worldwide, power, educational resources, innovation learning

We hope you enjoyed this week’s experiences focused on Information & Communication Technology. Were you inspired to create or invent something? Please share your photos with us on social media using #WeAreInnovationNation!

If you missed anything from our series this past week, check out the recordings and resources below. We hope that you will join us this upcoming week to explore Power & Energy.

What We Covered This Week
Information & Communication Technology: How can a problem be inspiration for finding a better way of doing things?

STEAM Stories

Join us for a reading of What Do You Do with an Problem? by Kobi Yamada and then learn about plastic and metal using a lesson from our early childhood curriculum, Innovate for Tots.Watch the video here

Innovation Journeys Live!
Join us for an Innovation Journey Live when Diana Nucera shares how her organization, the Detroit Community Technology Project, is helping kids connect to their virtual learning experiences. Watch the video here

Kid Inventor Profile
Alex Knoll, 15-year-old student from Idaho developed Ability App, a global app that will help people with disabilities and caregivers search for specific disability-friendly features at locations around the world. Explore these Invention Convention Curriculum activities to keep your child innovating. Watch the interview here.

Resource Highlight: Innovate for Tots
In our continued efforts to help parents, students and educators during these times of uncertainty, The Henry Ford is providing helpful tips that assist parents in adapting its educational tools for implementation at home.

This week we are highlighting, Innovate for Tots.  These interdisciplinary, hands-on activities are designed for curious preschoolers, and focus on themed materials that are experienced through storytelling, project-based learning, science, discovery, artifact viewing and home/neighborhood exploration.

Our goal is to provide standards-based learning opportunities introducing our littlest learners to the habits and actions of innovators and the language of innovation through our stories from history. Each lesson includes fine and gross motor skills, science, social studies, literacy and the arts to accomplish this goal. We explore materials used in artifacts from the vast collections of The Henry Ford, as well as our own homes. Our innovating tots will develop their understanding of materials and the ways we have used them, hopefully inspiring their desire to Stay Curious, Collaborate, Empathize, Uncover and Design the artifacts of the future. 

The lessons are designed to provide tremendous flexibility. The various components can be completed indoors or out.  We have designed them into series of five activities, divided into Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM), English, Language Arts and Literature (ELA/LIT), Social Studies and History (SS/HST), focused on one material or one combination of materials.  Each includes the related artifacts from the collections at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation which can be shown digitally as well as instructions, pictures, or links for projects.  Additionally, A Family Connection provides the family an opportunity to participate in the learning and a coloring sheet are also attached to each material. 

Each Innovate for Tots Lesson Plans for Toddler/Preschool teaches the following age-appropriate parts of our Model I – the Habits and Actions of Innovators:

Model I:
Help your tots practice the Habits of Innovators:
-Stay Curious: Ask questions like what, why, how
-Collaborate: Talk about helping, work together
-Learn from Failure: Talk about “trying again," what's another way to...
-Empathize: How did the characters in the stories feel?  How might it make others feel

Help your tots practice the Actions of Innovators:
-Design: Make, build, and create
-Uncover:  What do you see? (characteristic/properties); What problems does this material help us solve?

Parents and educators can learn more about Model I here.

communication, technology, Model i, innovation learning, educational resources

social tiles by day_w4d4-04

We hope you enjoyed this week’s experiences focused on agriculture and the environment. Were you inspired to create or invent something? Please share your photos with us on social media using #WeAreInnovationNation!

If you missed anything from our series this past week, check out the recordings and resources below. We hope that you will join us this upcoming week to explore Information and Communications Technology.

What We Covered This Week
Agriculture: How can we optimize planting and gardening to make the world a better place for everyone?

STEAM Stories
We read Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert and then learned about seeds, leaves and flowers using a lesson from our early childhood curriculum, Innovate for Tots. Watch the video here

#InnovationNation Tuesdays
See our agriculture segments here

Innovation Journeys Live!
This week we welcomed guest innovator Farmer Melvin Parson! He shared the story of his “We the People Opportunity Farm and Center” and how he continues to optimize for the changing times. Watch the video here

Kid Inventor Profile
Quill, a fifth grader from Iowa, invented the Hot Spot Chicken Insulating Cream to protect chickens from winter frostbite. Explore these Invention Convention Curriculum activities to keep your child innovating. Watch the video Quill’s video here

Resource Highlight: Innovate Curriculum
In our continued efforts to help parents, students and educators during these times of uncertainty, The Henry Ford is providing helpful tips that assist parents in adapting its educational tools for implementation at home.

This week we are highlighting another lesson from the Innovate Curriculum. Designed to accelerate core discipline performance, Innovate helps middle and high school students connect their subject matter to real-world applications through innovation understanding and skills development, unleashing every student’s potential to develop groundbreaking ideas. Students journey from learning the habits and actions of innovators to unleashing the innovator within. 

Create your free account today to access four interactive courses featuring:

- Primary source digital artifacts from The Henry Ford’s Archive of American Innovation - Dynamic lessons with real-life stories
- Learn-by-doing activities and interactive content that helps prepare students and their prototypes to participate in competitions
- Exclusive interviews with past and present visionaries
- Celebrity-led tours of today’s most exciting start-ups
- Facilitator guides that help educators and parents guide their students through the courses. 

Keep in mind that these courses were designed to be completed in a classroom setting, so feel free to adapt the courses for home use. These courses can be done on their own or in any order, but the recommended sequence is as follows:  

INNOVATE 101: Inspire Our Future as an Innovative Thinker
Students learn about the unique qualities that make an innovator, and how innovative thinking can not only solve problems but create world-changing social transformation. 

INNOVATE 102: Solve Our Problems
Students learn how innovators uncover insights, define problems, design prototypes and optimize solutions.

INNOVATE 103: Unleash Your Ideas as You Learn to Think Like an Entrepreneur 
Students discover how to move ideas forward by identifying customers, what to do to protect their ideas, how to communicate with an audience and how to pitch to investors. 

INNOVATE 104: Activate Your Potential
Students get to apply what they’ve learned and turn an idea into action. They’ll uncover an issue, come up with a solution, identify the users and create a unique prototype that they develop, showcase and pitch to others.

If your child is inspired to create an innovation of their own, check out Innovate 102, Lesson 2: Learning What People Need. Use the Innovate 102 facilitator’s guide and the tips below to guide your experience.

- To prep for Lesson 2, you may want to first look at Innovate 102, Lesson 1: Uncovering a Need.
- Begin by discussing what “innovation” means. You can use Innovate 101, Lesson 1 to help frame the conversation.
- Spend some time talking about the Actions of Innovation and the Habits of an Innovator – which ones have you used before? Which ones are less familiar? See page 2.
- Encourage your child to start keeping a “design journal” – see page 1 of the facilitator guide for more details.
- Talk about why it is important to talk to people who will use your innovation.
- Think about the difference between closed- and open-ended questions. Why are open-ended questions more valuable when trying to find out what people need?
- In this lesson, entrepreneur Will Allen demonstrates the power of open-ended questions. Can your child think of times when they asked open-ended questions? Closed-ended questions? Was there a difference in the types of answers they received?
- Practice asking open-ended questions with your child. Learning how to understand what people need is an important skill for all ages! 

Olivia Marsh is Program Manager, Educator Professional Development, at The Henry Ford. 

by Olivia Marsh, innovation learning, educational resources, environmentalism, agriculture