Creative Problem Solving and Inventing

1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET

Help Students Think and Act as Inventors
Be a part of the invention education movement! 

Thousands of teachers throughout the country and abroad are exploring how invention education enhances the 21st century skills their students will need to navigate their futures. Even if your students have had little exposure to STEM in the past, our professional development workshop will teach you how to help them develop confidence in their ability to engage in STEM and pursue STEM college and career pathways. Our evidence-based model, backed by published research and case studies, will also transform your approach to teaching and facilitating student learning, and helps schools and districts make connections to STEM professionals in their communities and other community supporters.

Please join us for our 2021 summer professional development workshop that will be held entirely online. There will be a combination of synchronous group activities online and asynchronous activities to be completed individually, offline. 

What Will You Learn?
Educators and administrators will develop the capacity to help students learn to think and act as inventors. Invention is interdisciplinary, so educators from all disciplines are invited to attend. Participants will:

  • Engage in hands-on activities that will help students become creative problem solvers.
  • Collaborate with peers from all over the country in sessions for K-12grades and community colleges.
  • Learn about invention education programs that will strengthen science,STEM, entrepreneurship, and enrichment programming.

Who Should Attend?
Educators of all grade levels, after school professionals, administrators, community college faculty, or other educators who want to enrich students' educational experiences – especially STEM experiences - through inventing solutions to real-world problems. Educators from the same school district are encouraged to attend. This will help support the pathway for inventing in your district.

Registration for the three-day workshop is $600 per participant and includes workshop materials. Space is limited to 20 educators per grade band. Two forms of payment are accepted (credit card and check). We will maintain a waitlist once the registration limit is reached.

Contact: For questions, please contact Alma Lundberg at


Facilitators & Speakers

Workshop sessions will be taught and facilitated by the Lemelson-MIT Program staff, Lemelson-MIT Master Teachers and guest speakers. Please continue to check back as we add more speakers. 

Christine Lawlor-King
Christine Lawlor-King
Professional Development Coordinator

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.

Helen Zhang
Helen Zhang, PhD
Professional Development Coordinator, Lemelson-MIT

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.

Leigh Estabrooks
Leigh Estabrooks, EdD
Invention Education Officer, Lemelson-MIT

Leigh Estabrooks joined the Lemelson-MIT Program in 2006 to manage the day-to-day operations of the InvenTeams® national grants initiative. In 2008, she became the Invention Education Officer, overseeing all K-12 invention education initiatives. Estabrooks has been instrumental in the development and introduction of several new initiatives, including Junior Varsity InvenTeams™ and the 2010 launch of the Inventing Merit Badge, in partnership with the Boy Scouts of America. She has co-authored multiple research studies on invention education. She holds a master’s degree in business management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Northeastern University.

Tony Perry
Anthony Perry
Invention Education Coordinator, Lemelson-MIT

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
Lemelson-MIT Master Teacher, Hopkinton High School Teacher

Doug Scott 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. He was a business undergraduate student at Framingham State University, but was always a lifelong inventor at heart. Doug’s 12-year teaching career sprung from his hockey coaching experiences, which have been instrumental in helping him motivate students through the inventing processes. 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. 

Pascha Griffiths
Pascha Griffiths, PhD
Invention Education Coordinator, Lemelson-MIT

Pascha has worked in the education field for over 20 years. She has taught a variety of subjects to a range of students from nursery school to adult learners. Pascha particularly relishes investing in educators because in her subjective experience, educators make enthusiastic learners who then multiply their learning by investing in their students. 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.

Professional Learning Grade Band
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.
9-14 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 twelve of the Lemelson-MIT Program’s grant-funded InvenTeams have secured patents for their work.