Creative Problem Solving and Inventing 2021

Event Pass Information

Event Pass Type

Event Details


Help All Students Learn to Think and Act as Inventors

Be a part of an inclusive invention education movement!

Join our three-day, virtual professional development workshop to learn how invention education helps K-14 administrators and educators create inclusive STEM offerings that are transdisciplinary, build computational literacy, and engage students in their local communities. Community college educators will hear from faculty and administrators about the new Invention and Inclusive Innovation (I3) program for community colleges being prototyped with multiple colleges in California.

Please join us in Summer 2021 for virtual professional development session that will be held entirely online, over the course of three days. There will be a combination of synchronous group activities online and asynchronous activities to be completed individually, offline. 

Who should attend: 

  • Administrators and superintendents
  • Educators at all levels
  • Community college administrators and faculty
  • After School professionals

We encourage participation by teams consisting of both administrators and educators committed to creating pathways to invention for students. Invention is interdisciplinary, so educators from all disciplines are invited to attend. 

What will you learn: 

Administrators and educators of varying levels of experience with invention education will develop the capacity to help students learn to think and act as inventors. There will be separate tracks for administrators and for educators by grade span. Participants will learn:

  • Approaches to engaging students from diverse backgrounds in STEM learning
  • Ways to develop students' capacities to think and act as inventors
  • Hands-on activities that will help students become creative problem solvers
  • Best practices for strengthening STEM, entrepreneurship, and enrichment programming 

FACILITATORS & SPEAKERS: Workshop sessions will be facilitated by Lemelson-MIT  Program staff (former teachers), former InvenTeam teachers who have experience helping  students learn to invent, and guest speakers from the innovation and education sector. Current speakers include:

  • Arlyne Simon, inventor and author of “Abby Invents Unbreakable Crayons”
  • Sarah Boisvert, Founder at New Collar Network and Fab Lab Hub
  • George Westerman, Principal Research Scientist, MIT’s J-WEL Workforce Learning
  • Ken R. Kay, CEO of Edleader21 and founding president of Partnership for 21st Century Skills
  • Many leading educators and administrators from K-12 schools, districts and community colleges

The Lemelson-MIT Program - The Thought Leader in Invention Education Located within the School of Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), we have been celebrating outstanding inventors and working to inspire young people to pursue creative lives and careers for 25 years. We are now excited to share what we have learned with educators across the U.S. as we believe that the development of creative and inventive mindsets is critical to young people’s ability to thrive in today’s technologically driven, rapidly changing world.

If you have questions before registering, please contact Alma Lundberg at


*** Please note that you should fill in your school/organization address when you register ***


Your Instructors for this webinar:

Christine Lawlor-King

Christine Lawlor-King manages the professional development and educational aspects of new invention education initiatives at the Lemelson-MIT Program.  Christine was an educator for 12 years and taught science, STEM, and invention.  She was her district's first and only STEM Coordinator and built the district's STEM programming.  She enjoys training and supporting educators and helping schools implement and grow their programs.  As a former microbiologist, Christine has a passion for introducing youth to STEM careers.

Leigh Estabrooks, Ed.D.

Leigh is the invention education officer for LMIT, and oversees all K-12 invention education initiatives. Leigh previously managed LMIT's InvenTeams program, and has been instrumental in the development of new initiatives, including Junior Varsity InvenTeams™ and the 2010 launch of the Inventing Merit Badge in partnership with the Boy Scouts of America. Previously, Leigh held positions in new product development at Fortune 500 consumer products companies, and was a licensed secondary school educator at a technical high school.

Helen Zhang, Ph.D.

Helen Zhang has over 15 years of experience in designing and implementing STEM activities in formal and informal settings. She develops online webinars addressing key issues related to Invention Education, conducts workshops to engage teachers in integrating invention projects in their classrooms, and provides practical suggestions to invention educators on how to better support young inventors.

Tony Perry

As the Invention Education Coordinator at Lemelson-MIT, Tony Perry supports teams of high school students, teachers, and mentors from around the country as they work through the invention process from problem identification to building a working prototype during their InvenTeam grant year. Prior to joining the Lemelson-MIT Program, Tony taught high school science in Chicago and worked in museum education. He received his master’s degree in science education from Northwestern University and bachelor’s degree in astronomy-physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to his role at Lemelson-MIT, Tony is a PhD student at Texas Tech University, concentrating in curriculum and instruction.

Doug Scott

Doug Scott is a Lemelson-MIT Fellow, and was an educator on the Natick High School InvenTeam in 2013. He is now an engineering and information technology teacher at Hopkinton High School in Massachusetts. Doug accompanied two student representatives from the Natick High School InvenTeam to the fourth White House Science Fair in May 2014, and their invention was awarded U.S. Patent 20,140,360,420 in January 2017. Doug was awarded the 2014 Massachusetts STEM Teacher of the Year during a state-wide ceremony on October 22, 2014. Raytheon Corporation and the Hall at Patriot Place presented the award. 

Evelyn Gómez
Evelyn Gómez has worked in the education field for over 10 years, first as a math and science teacher for K-15 students, and later as the executive director for DIY Girls, a nonprofit aimed at providing hands-on STEM education and mentorship to girls in her hometown of Pacoima, California. Evelyn first came to the Lemelson-MIT program in 2016 as an InvenTeam educator for the DIY Girls, a group of 12 girls who invented a solar-powered tent for unhoused individuals in Los Angeles. Evelyn has earned bachelor's and master's degrees in aerospace engineering from MIT and UCLA, respectively, as well as a master’s in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Pascha Griffiths, PhD
Pascha has worked in the education field for over 20 years, having taught a variety of subjects to a range of students from nursery school to adult learners. Since 2013, Pascha has been coaching pre-service science teachers as an Advisor and Program Supervisor primarily through Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, but also through Lesley University’s Teacher Education Program, and College of the Atlantic’s Teacher Certification Program. Pascha holds a master’s degree in communication from Boston University, a master’s in education from Harvard University, and a PhD in educational leadership from Lesley University, where she teaches as an adjunct faculty.


Guest Speakers:

Carlos Osorio, PhD
Carlos Osorio is co-founder and partner of Yuken, the first impact research lab in Latin America that partners with people and organizations all over the world to create positive and lasting change for their innovation, learning and design challenges. His work focuses on innovation processes and innovation in complex socio-technical systems. He has experience in the biotech, finance, telecom, energy, natural resources and utility sectors. He holds a PhD in technology, management and policy from MIT.

María Renard
Maria Renard is co-founder and partner of Yuken Impact Research Lab, with expertise in developing and mobilizing innovation and creativity skills in children and adults, learning in the innovative design process, human-centered design solutions and strategic visual communication for academic settings. She leads the design and learning teams at Yuken. She has been a professor of design for more than fifteen years, and founding director of the School of Design at Univ. Gabriela Mistral. She is a designer from PUC and holds a master’s degree in innovation from UAI. 

Pavithra Lakshminarayan
Pavi founded Mindbytes, through which she creates and provides year-round programs that address core skills and create “Young Geniuses.” She has over 22 years of work experience in information technology and education, focusing on learning design, content creation, training and operations. She has been an advisor for education and research-based projects around strategic planning, curriculum design, course development, training and integration. She is on the leadership team for the South Jersey STEM Innovation Partnership network and chairs an early childhood learning priority group at the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network. She holds an M.B.A in information technology & finance.

Brenda Payne
Brenda is the executive director of the California Invention Convention.  She began her career as an educator in Northern California where she introduced invention education to students, utilizing an engineering curriculum that she helped develop for her district.  Continuing on as a principal at several schools in Northern and Central California and a superintendent in a small district in Santa Cruz County, she began the California Invention Convention (CAIC), a program that today serves thousands of students, as an annual celebration of K-12 inventors and entrepreneurs from across the state. Brenda has provided the professional development for the CAIC curriculum that teachers use in their classrooms and after school programs.

 *** Instructors and Guest Speakers are subject to change ***




Attendees will have the opportunity to learn how inventing can be used to engage youth and support the integration of STEM in the following grade bands.

Grade Band Professional Learning Description
PK-3 and 3-5 The early years are foundational to students’ development. Presenters will share playful approaches to developing students’ ability to understand others’ needs, communications skills, computational thinking and computer science skills and ways of designing and building – all through projects that are age appropriate and designed for youth from diverse backgrounds.
6-10 The middle grades are ideal times to continue to develop a range of capabilities needed to invent such as hands on skills and design thinking emphasized in LMIT’s free JV InvenTeams curriculum. Computational thinking and computer science add-ons support this essential area for development. These years are also the time to help students learn how to think about solutions that are both useful and unique.
9-12 High school students are capable of finding problems to solve in their local communities and building useful and unique prototypes of those solutions. Prior learning opportunities can be built upon at this age to support the design and development of technological solutions that are not obvious to one skilled in the art – i.e. patentable! Learn how eight of the Lemelson-MIT Program’s grant-funded InvenTeams have secured patents for their work.

Day 1 Online: 

  • Orientation to Invention Education
  • Overview of the work pertaining to attendees’ grade band

Day 2 Online:

  • Exploration of existing teaching resources and plan new invention activities for the year ahead

Day 3 Online:

  • Attendees share existing resources for each grade band and work plans for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Small group meetings with staff and speakers to address individual or site needs.