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Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

Innovation Virtual Learning Series: Week 2

April 7, 2020
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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.

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