Makerspaces Inspire Young Changemakers

 
  • A smartwatch that can be used to send alerts in dangerous situations.

  • A waistband to help prevent blind people from veering into dangerous traffic.

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These inventions, which are addressing real problems and making a meaningful difference for people, are the engineering achievements of high school students. Some of the students did not initially feel comfortable with technology, but they did want to make a difference. They are passionate about taking action, and that passion can inspire them to explore programming, circuitry, and 3-D printing in order to have an impact.

Project Invent is a high school invention program for students who want to solve real problems. The students build impactful technologies for and with their community, alongside a trained mentor and a community client. Through their involvement with Project Invent, students learn that:

  • They can make empathic connections with others

  • They have ideas that matter

  • They can improve their environment and their world

  • They have more ability to learn and grow than they knew.

As one student noted:

Being a member of Project Invent has helped me grow in ways no class could teach me to—I have learned how to work with a team in a professional setting while navigating real-life systems, including marketing, business, and law. Being a part of this team has not only allowed me to sharpen those skills, but also be an active changemaker. This changemaking has provided me with confidence to use these skills now and beyond.

Project Invent was founded by Connie Liu, a mechanical engineer who is inspiring high school students to invent technologies that make a difference.

Read more about the program in the January 2019 issue of Childhood Education: Innovations.

 
Anne Bauer