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Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

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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


Welcome to week two of The Henry Ford’s Innovation Learning Virtual Series. Were you inspired to create or invent something this week? We want to see what you’re making! Please share your photos with us on #WeAreInnovationNation. If you missed the series last week, check out the recordings by clicking on the links at the bottom of this post. We hope that you will join us this week to explore our theme of Design & Making. Keep reading for more details about what’s in store.

What We Covered This Week
Theme: Design & Making — How do we collaborate and work with others?

STEAM Stories
This week is all about sand and glass. Join us for a reading of The Sand Castle Lola Built by Megan Maynor and then get hands-on activity ideas from our early childhood curriculum, Innovate for TotsRegister here. 

#InnovationNation Tuesdays
See our design and making segments here.

Innovation Journeys Live!
How do artists use glass to create delicate works of art? Watch the story of studio glass unfold in a live innovation journey. Practice making your own journey using the Model i Primer activity. Register here.

#THFCuratorChat: Design & Making
Learn more about the evolution of luggage design from Curator of Charles Sable.

Kid Inventor Profile
Listen to serial inventor Lino as he discusses his three inventions: Kinetic Kickz, the String Ring and the Sole Solution. Then explore some Invention Convention Curriculum activities to keep your child innovating. Register here.

Resource Spotlight: Model i Primer+ Design Lesson
In our continued efforts to help parents, students and educators during these times of uncertainty, The Henry Ford is providing helpful tips to help parents adapt its educational tools for implementation at home. Last week we highlighted our Model i Primer, a facilitator’s guide that introduces the Actions of Innovation and Habits of an Innovator through fun, learn-by-doing activities.

This week we are highlighting the Model i Primer+. These five lesson plans, named after the Actions of Innovation, are designed as opportunities for students to practice the Actions and Habits introduced in the Model i Primer. Each lesson includes age-appropriate versions for grades 2-5, 6-8 and 9-12. In keeping with this week’s theme of Design & Making, we’ll focus on the Design lesson today. All you need for the lesson are some colored pencils or markers and paper.

We define designing as brainstorming solutions to a defined problem or need. This is one of the trickiest parts of any innovation journey for all inventors. In trying to solve a problem or need, kids can feel overwhelmed by a blank page, or they can get stuck on unfocused ideas. In order to help kids navigate these challenges, the Design lesson introduces two brainstorming techniques: the Zero Drafting technique and the Wishing technique.

Zero Drafting is an ideation technique that encourages kids to get their initial creative solutions out of their heads and on to paper, using information they already know. The Wishing technique encourages kids to frame solutions as wishes, making them more comfortable sharing ideas without pressure of producing real ideas. Combining Zero Drafting with Wishing, students focus on features of their creative ideas to trigger new, more realistic concepts to develop. By ideating feasible concepts, kids will be able to choose one solution to develop further.

When trying the Design lesson in your home, consider these adaptations for each of the lesson’s three parts:

Prep Activities: Begin by suggesting a problem that your kids may want to solve. This can be something simple, like a problem they have during their morning routine or always growing out of their shoes.

Core Activities: Use the Zero Drafting and Wishing techniques to brainstorm fantastical solutions, and then analyze these ideas to generate new, more realistic concepts. You can choose to just use one of the techniques. Brainstorm solutions along with your child.

Follow-Up Project: Have your child pick one of the solutions they came up with, and have them begin to write or draw ideas about how they would make that solution come true. You might be surprised by how your child begins to solve their own problems.

Take it further: Ask your child what Actions and Habits they practiced.

Please share your experience and follow others as they engage in our digital learning opportunities using the hashtag #WeAreInnovationNation.

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

by Olivia Marsh, Model i, educational resources, making, design, innovation learning