Young Inventors STEM Education Program Expanding to Vermont
Friday, October 16, 2020
Posted by: Jeff Couture
The Young Inventors’ Program, a STEM education offering that inspires students to explore science and technology while solving real-world problems is being offered in Vermont as part of the program’s expansion across Northern New England.
“For nearly 40 years, we have worked with New Hampshire schools and recently programs in Massachusetts,” explained Tina White, Director of the Young Inventors’ Program (YIP) at the Academy of Applied Science. “We have wanted to connect with Vermont students for the past year and are pleased to offer new options for them to use their creativity and ingenuity to become the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators.”
YIP is a K-12 project-based learning experience developed to meet evolving education standards including the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and to reinforce 21st Century skills, including decision making, problem solving, and communications. The flexible curriculum is offered to schools, community organizations, libraries, clubs, and homeschoolers at no cost.
“The founder of this program, Dr. Robert Rines, believed that education should not be denied to any student,” says White. “This is why we offer free materials and support to teachers, leaders, and students. The curriculum is written for different K-12 grade levels and can be condensed or expanded to meet the needs of the program site. What makes YIP different is that it is student-centered: kids pick the problem they want to solve, apply their learning to develop prototypes, and present their inventions and their discovery journey.”
To respond to the ever-changing and uncertain school year, the Academy’s YIP team worked with their veteran teachers to create a variety of options for educators to present the program. “We saw that enrichment programs and STEM activities may fall off of learning plans as schools and programs make difficult choices to keep students and communities safe,” says White. “We all agree that STEM opportunities should be available as we navigate pandemic protocols.”
To this end, YIP now has tracks for teachers to present the modules in classrooms, tracks with lessons presented by YIP staff to supplement their in-class or remote lessons, and a track for students to follow the program independently. “We know that Vermont has robust Individual Learning Plans which fits perfectly with our independent student track,” says White.
To meet individual instruction plans and newly created cooperatives such as the Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative, YIP deploys an interdisciplinary approach that minimizes screen time and maximizes hands-on activities for students during remote learning. Emphasis is placed on creating a growth mindset by fostering creative thinking, perseverance, and problem-solving skills. “When YIP is incorporated into learning programming, all students, including those who may not otherwise be selected to, or choose to, participate in STEM, are able to benefit from such activities
that focus on problem solving, creative thinking, resiliency through failure, and communications skill building,” says White. “We have seen students in third and fourth grade discover a passion for topics like engineering that open an entirely new world to discover and hopefully a path to an innovative career.”
Participating programs receive curriculum, support and guidance from YIP staff, access to STEMinars for teachers and students, and materials to host a local Invention Fair hosted by the Academy.
To learn more about bringing YIP to your school or community, visit their website for programs and contact information: www.fuelthespark.org.
About Academy of Applied Science: The Academy is a nationally recognized educational resource center offering enrichment programs for students and professional development for teachers and educational administrators. Their mission to “fuel the spark of genius” by engaging today’s youth in STEM through opportunities to apply scientific knowledge to research and innovation. The Academy honors learners of all ages and strives to encourage inventive thinking, productive research, and talent development in STEM disciplines.
The Young Inventors’ Program® (YIP) was developed by the Academy of Applied Science to encourage and support young students to explore STEM disciplines. Now reaching into New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont, nearly 5,000 youth will participate locally at schools, libraries, clubs, after-school, and home school programs.