Sunday, July 24, 2016

Inventor's Challenge

Why am I writing about something from March? I realized I never wrote about one of our most exciting events of the year!

Back in March, I had just finished up the Book Fair, was celebrating Read Across America Day, competed in our district's annual Elementary Battle of the Books, and submitted my first ever yearbook. It was a busy month! But now it's time to share about our first ever Inventor's Challenge.

As an Imagination Chapter we participate in three big events (in addition to weekly activities.) They are the Global Cardboard Challenge, the Inventor's Challenge, and the Earth Day Cardboard Challenge.

I had previously served as Science Fair Coordinator for about eight years so I was familiar with the process of coordinating a school-level science competition. The Science Fair is for third grade and up.  I decided to open up our Inventor's Challenge to K-5.

I introduced the competition during my regular media classes, just like I do with the Science Fair. Students really enjoyed Kid President's video How to Be an Inventor!

I then shared Kelvin Doe's story. Kelvin, who lives in Sierra Leone, taught himself engineering so that he could broadcast his own radio show. Here's a kid who is picking through trash, working during the night, overcoming obstacles of all kinds...  He ends up involved with MIT and Ted Talks and he becomes a viral sensation. 

We researched other kid inventors and went through the design process.  Check out all of the resources here. I also sent information out to teachers and parents.

The goal of our Inventor's Challenge was simple: kids were encouraged to make something original, cool, useful, maybe even wacky… They needed to invent something that solves a problem in their schools or communities

They could create, design, or invent one of these or something else.
  • Toy
  • Game
  • Board Game
  • Safety Feature
  • Health Solution
  • Technology Device
  • Something with recycled materials
  • Something new

Students had to complete the following information.

  • What’s the name of your invention?
  • What problem does it solve?
  • What does it do?
  • What inspired you to create your invention?
  • Who does your invention help?
  • Did you run into any challenges? How did you overcome them?
  • Share your ideas, sketches, and prototypes.
Classroom winners shared their projects during our Invention Convention. Check out the pictures!

First place went to a pair of students who invented LEGO-Opolis, a LEGO board game. That cute kid on the left is actually my own, but the judging was by several other people. Second place went to Ever who invented medical tape that left a line showing where the end of the tape was on the roll. 

How exciting when we learned Kendall and Brycen won Honorable Mention at the international level in the Imagination Foundation's and AT&T Aspire's Inventor's Challenge. 

The President of AT&T sent them this letter. There were hundreds of entries from kids all over the world.

After the Inventor's Challenge, I began to see a lot more inventing around the school.  Kids would come in and tell me about their new ideas.  We delved more deeply into the design process.

I wonder what inventions we will see next year!

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