Bringing inventions into the classroom is a way to spark creativity and possibly bring out future engineers. It's vital to teach students about all of the fun ideas they can find deep within their minds.
Don't let your kids lose touch with their creative side. Integrate invention projects into your classroom this upcoming school year. Can't quite find the right invention activities for middle schoolers? Don't worry! Here are 30 different inventions that will enhance student engagement and foster independence.
1. Touch Sensor Glass Wipers
This student from @Cohnlibrary created touch sensor wipers for sunglasses. These can equally be used for regular glasses, perfect for times of mask-wearing. Brainstorm with your students on invention ideas they may have that is similar.
Learn More: Twitter
2. Smart Shoe
Are you looking to get your students brainstorming on inventions that will help disabled people? @Vasptech on Instagram shared this awesome show designed to help blind people. This idea could help to inspire students in their helpful inventions.
Learn More: Vasp Technologies (Instagram)
3. Paper Bag Inventions
This might be perfect if you're working on an invention unit or just looking for ideas for projects. Using limited resources, like a paper bag and other craft items they can find in the classroom, it will be extraordinary to watch your students work together and come up with some pretty unique inventions.
Learn More: Sarah • 4th grade teacher (Instagram)
4. Table for One
Table for One is a simple but realistic invention. It can be used in the classroom or at home! Just showing your students this invention will get their gears grinding. Brainstorm together or as a group of other inventions that may be just as convenient as this!
Learn More: Sunset Elementary School (Instagram)
5. The Most Magnificent Thing
Taking time to read aloud to students is important across grades, from story books to chapter books. Before beginning a unit on inventions or giving your kiddos extra time to get creative, The Most Magnificent Thing will help spark their interest and get their brains into creation mode.
Learn More: Lua Blignaut (Instagram)
6. Rube Goldberg Machines
There's nothing better than watching kiddos' creativity spike when they have the space and materials to create their own Rube Goldberg Machines. This will surely take various skills like patience, persistence, and teamwork.
Learn More: Simplifi EDU Online Tutoring (Instagram)
7. What Are Your Invention Concepts?
Spend a day creating concepts. Have students come up with their own ideas for projects. Whatever their minds come up with will be a great plan to make a blueprint. This could just be a fun brainstorming activity, or you could really create inventions.
Learn More: Julie York (Instagram)
8. Invention Anchor Chart
This may be the perfect anchor chart if you're looking for a creative way to inspire your students to get going on their invention blueprints. Raise their brainstorming level to a new high with this inspiring anchor chart.
Learn More: Erin O'Reilly, M.Ed. (she/her) (Instagram)
9. Life as an Engineer
Do your students ever wonder what it would be like to be an engineer? Giving students tasks like "invent a prosthetic leg", will challenge them while also giving them a sense of community. Working together in groups, see who can come up with the most sturdy invention.
Learn More: Facebook
10. Create a Mechanical Hand
If you're looking for an invention your students can make by following a video, this is the right one for you. Both interesting and engaging activities, the mechanical hand will challenge the mind. It will also be extremely fun to play with at the end.
Learn More: STEM Inventions
11. Straw Rockets
This is a simple invention that can be made quickly with little materials. Become an aeronautical engineer with this exciting invention. Whether students come up with their own blueprints or use the video, they'll surely be engaged with this one.
Learn More: STEM Inventions
12. Hand Sanitizer Machine
If you're looking for ways to make free time more fun for everyone, then finding inventions that will enhance your classroom is a great idea. This automatic sanitizer dispenser is the perfect option to directly involve student creativity and talent in the classroom.
Learn More: DIY
13. Harvest Rain Water
Are you looking to help your middle schoolers become more conscious of how they can reuse environmental things, like rainwater? These mini rain harvesting ideas for projects will turn the wheels in their minds.
Learn More: The4Pillars
14. Bottle Vacuum Cleaner
I loved this bottle vacuum cleaner. We don't have a vacuum in our classroom, so my students were super excited to use this one around the room. It is not only a challenging invention; it's also super useful for your school students and you!
Learn More: Navin Khambhala #crazyNK
15. Summer Invention Challenge
Whether you start off with story books about climate change or you literally use this as a summer invention challenge, most of your students will be pretty excited about it - a project that will push them to think outside the box and begin to think about real-world problems.
Learn More: Bridge Innovate
16. Create Your own Invent it Challenge!
An invention challenge is great for everyone! Creating your own challenge as a class is a great way to work with students on inventing something that interests them. You could set them up in groups or challenge another class.
Learn More: Cricket Media Children's Learning
17. Simple Pen Sling Shot
There's no doubt that kids love causing a ruckus with the materials they use daily. If your students are known for flinging rubber bands or pencils across the room, it's time to get them to invent some slingshots.
Learn More: TikTok
18. Butter Invention Challenge
Invent some butter! This activity involves food, so if your district doesn't allow outside food, you may have to skip over this one. If not, this is a great way to not only spark those random 6th graders' thoughts but also teach about where things come from.
Learn More: TikTok
19. Invent a Product
20. Failed Inventions
This list is filled with inventions that will spark interest and engagement from your kiddos. But what kind of educational list would it be without showing the failures? Learning that some of the most well-intentioned inventions failed at one point might help boost your student's confidence in their own inventions and ideas.
Learn More: BBC Ideas
21. Invention Rubric
Don't underestimate what a good rubric can do. Rubrics lay out the map of exactly what you're looking for but don't diminish student creativity. This rubric will surely give your students steps to follow but allow them to create to their heart's content.
Learn More: Mensa For Kids
22. Invent a Board Game
I LOVE having my students invent their own board games. I usually play these kinds of activities for novel studies or other big research projects. Whether you have them base their game around a certain topic or just let them create freely, you'll be amazed at the things they come up with.
Learn More: WikiHow
23. Water Challenge
Okay, this one is tough. Tough, but seriously important. Work with your students or let them do some research and figure it out on their own to invent a way to go from dirty water to clean water. This may just actually come into use one day.
Learn More: Excited Educator
24. Desktop Greenhouse
If you don't have enough room for a garden at school, have your students invent their very own desktop greenhouses! You won't be disappointed by these because they're pretty easy to invent, and students will love putting their own spin on the design.
Learn More: One Less Thing
25. Invention Graphic Organizer
Graphic organizers are, in essence, a student's guide to the organization. If you're giving your students an invention project, it might be beneficial to provide this graphic organizer directly after the brainstorming phase to help get all of their ideas out.
Learn More: ISL Collective
26. Roto Copter
There may be a group of kids that strive to learn about becoming an aeronautical engineer; they just don't know it yet. Presenting small tasks that will surely enhance their understanding of how amazing it is to make things fly might help them reach their full realizations and potential.
Learn More: TikTok
27. DIY Wobble Bot
This wobble bot is probably one of the cutest inventions I've seen thus far. Make a boom in school throughout your middle and even upper grades. Have 4-5 grade, 6-8 grade, and even 9-12 grade level students create these wobble bot robots! Make it a competition or just a fun project for everyone.
Learn More: Research Parent
28. Conveyer Belt Invention
Simple, fun, and engaging. Your students will love this conveyor belt idea. This would be a great invention to gift to the younger students for playing grocery store or something to that effect. It would also be cool to keep it somewhere in the classroom.
Learn More: Pink Stripey Socks
29. Invention & Inventors Research Project
There are various creative ways to engage your students in their research projects. A great idea for inventions and inventors is to have students create storybooks they can read to the class or to students in another grade.
Learn More: Mr. Nuss Baum
30. Smartphone Projector
Your students will love this invention from the beginning to the end. It's simple, requires little materials, AND can be used with a smartphone. Everyone loves a project when there's a smartphone involved.
Learn More: TechBuilder