The Kids Invent! program for all fifth- and sixth-graders is one of the most visible ways the district is helping students develop the skills they need to be successful in college and career.
As part of the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), the district has invested $1.4 million to bring Kids Invent! to more than 11,000 students, with a focus on the board-adopted Goal 3: "All students will demonstrate the character and competencies for workplace success."
Teachers across the district have implemented the Kids Invent! projects. Yokomi Elementary School fifth grade teacher Stephen Barnett said the program provides a complete package of projects for the whole school year -- delivered to schools -- that is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.
"And the best part is this: the students do all of the work, and they actually like it!" Barnett said. "It is hands-on/minds-on science as it should be taught in all schools throughout our nation, and Fresno has taken the lead again in this area."
In August 2014, the Board of Education approved a contract to implement Kids Invent! for all fifth graders. Kids Invent! is offered by the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fresno State University.
During this past year, the program was extended to sixth grade students to reinforce concepts and give students the chance to take creativity to even greater heights.
The Kids Invent! contract provides a weekly hands-on educational program designed to engage all fifth- and sixth-grade students in science, engineering and entrepreneurship through lessons plans built around creative and innovative activities. The program helps students learn about business through real life experiences.
Weekly activities range from boomerangs to solar powered boats and incorporate the appropriate Next Generation Science Standards. For example, students' critical thinking skills are sharpened by creating their own gravity cars with cardboard, masking tape, straws, wheels, and wooden dowels. Students sent their cars down a ramp to determine if their engineering, design, and problem solving was effective.
Teachers are trained to implement the program at their schools and receive ongoing instruction and support.
In April, the district held the second annual Innovation Day, with teams of students from all schools competing at the Save Mart Center in activities that let them utilize what they had learned throughout the year through Kids Invent!