YIP Curricula

Young Inventors Program

YIP places a high priority on staying current with evolving standards and best practices in educational models from across the country. All curricula align with 21st century skill development, core educational competencies, and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The YIP Curricula includes tools and recommendations to support educators who will teach in-person or virtually, in the classroom or in after school and other out-of-school settings. The core elements of our curricula, including lesson plans, slide decks, and worksheets are streamlined into the outlines below. Of course, you are encouraged to adjust these materials to your students’ needs but if you are pressed for time or need to some inspiration, we have everything here for you.

Are You a Student?

Are you a student looking to invent? Please go to our Independent Student page for all of the resources that you need to invent with us and to register. 


Educators: Register Before You Start 

Please let us know that you  are using the Young Inventors’ Program:


Why register? By registering your school/organization we will be able to provide more support and all the materials you need to run YIP. You will receive regular program updates, access to live webinars, and individual support from our team. This helps us report to our donors and sponsors who make it possible to offer YIP to you at no cost.


    New for 2023-24!

    Rube Goldberg Machine Unit

    YIP is excited to introduce a brand new Rube Goldberg Machine unit (formally Chain Reaction Machines) in addition to our updated grade specific curricula which more intentionally target academic and developmental content standards. With increased focus on STEM and literacy and the addition of social emotional learning, YIP's new tracks will make invention even more relevant and meet students exactly where they are. 

    Revised YIPLit: Literature and Invention Together Unit with new theme book and lesson plans!

    Feedback from our pilot YIPLit programs sparked innovation to redevelop this K-2 curriculum. Using a new theme book and incorporating new activities and materials, we have updated this unit for a more streamlined approach to inventive thinking for our youngest inventors. 


    YIPLit: Literature and Invention Together for Grades K-2    

    YIPLit graphic

    The new YIPLit curriculum will captivate and engage our youngest inventors by using literature as the foundation for invention. The focus on literacy allows educators to use any children's book to dive into the invention process with hands-on activities that foster creativity and critical thinking. The series of lessons guides students to create their own inventions using a more structured approach- perfect for bright young inventors.

    While YIP provides a developed curriculum based on a book of our choosing, we encourage educators to innovate and adapt these activities to their favorite books. We hope that this spirit of innovation will spark a passion for STEM education and that YIP educators will share their own YIPLit ideas and plans to create a robust resource library for all to enjoy.

    YIPLit (Grades K-2) Lesson Plans and Resources


    YIP for Grades 3-8 

    This is YIP's flagship curriculum designed by and for educators to spark a passion for invention and STEM education.   Students are introduced to each step of the invention design process as they engage in hands-on activities to explore STEM concepts and develop critical 21st century skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. Throughout the experience, they gain self-confidence and feel empowered by their resiliency to push through challenges. Upon completion of the program, students will have created their own original invention to solve a problem of their own choosing.

    YIP Grades 3-8 Lesson Plans and Resources


    YIP After School for Grades K-8

    Adapted specifically for the after-school and out-of-school settings such as camps, library programs and other extracurricular activities, YIP After School provides enrichment and exposes students to a meaningful and positive STEM experience in a more condensed and flexible framework that will lead students to develop their own original invention. The curricula relies more heavily on hands-on activities as students participate in the invention design process. Educators are encouraged to add or substitute activities and content that will best serve the group and recommendations are provided. The culmination of the invention project may take the form of presentation at a showcase or invention fair event.

    YIP After School Plans and Resources


    High School YIP for Grades 9-12 


    The High School YIP curriculum has been totally recreated to challenge and fuel the spark of innovation in our older inventors. Lessons introduce concepts of design, engineering and entrepreneurship by using real world issues as the starting point to dare students to think beyond and imagine a better future. This curriculum blends 21st century skills and social emotional learning as students design novel solutions through careful analysis, creativity, and the scientific method.



    Rube Goldberg Machines 

    YIP Rube Goldberg Machine logo

    The all new Rube Goldberg Machine curriculum provides an alternative approach to inventing by directing students to design a multi-step contraption. With guidance from Rube Goldberg Machine experts at Zach's Contraptions, this new unit incorporates a more streamlined approach to teaching about simple machines and turning them in to chain reactions.  Students are challenged to design a device that is deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task in a complicated fashion. The Rube Goldberg Machine track guides students away from traditional ways of looking at problems and sends them spinning into the intuitive, chaotic realm of imagination- all while exploring STEM concepts and developing critical 21st century skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. Throughout the experience, they gain self-confidence and feel empowered by their resiliency to push through obstacles.

    Students who create Rube Goldberg Machines are eligible to compete in the Northern New England Invention Convention, but at this time, RGMs are not included at the Invention Convention U.S. Nationals. However, eligible RGMs may be entered into the National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

    Email: for questions or registration.




    2023-2024 Curricula

    All YIP curricula are organized into a framework centered on using the steps of the invention process to be led by the educator in-person or virtually for synchronous or asynchronous learning. The culmination of the invention or chain reaction machine project takes the form of a presentation at a showcase or invention fair event (in-person or virtually). Resources for educators in all tracks include:

    • Lesson Plans with recommendations for virtual learning
    • Hands-on and off-screen activities to engage students and apply content in real world contexts
    • Slide Decks to complement lessons
    • Student Worksheets to support lessons
    • Videos that you may use for inspiration or assign to your students to watch
    • YIP Inventors’ Journal- NEW versions available for the different tracks- YIPLit, YIP and YIP After School, and Rube Goldberg Machines. Printed copies will be provided in YIP Packs, but are also available on our Resources Page