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This is my first year doing an "Invention Convention" instead of a science fair. The idea is to get students to actually invent or improve an invention and to present their prototypes to the class. Anyone has experience organizing this type of event? Are there any online resources I can use? Thanks!

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Several years ago, a teacher I knew ran an Invention Convention.  What we liked about it was the fresh ideas--the science fair had become pretty stale.  As I remember it, the actual convention was planned just like the fair and ran smoothly.  I think my colleague used a book about teaching the idea of inventing and then adapted all the science fair materials.  Not sure if that is useful at all.

Found this website.  Looks like a good resource!  Good luck.

http://www.ctinventionconvention.org/

CT has a well organized Invention Convention, but there was a strong movement for this program in Florida many years ago. The state affiliate for NSTA in FL is FAST and there may be someone on their contact list who can provide some background on what has happened in the state.

I might suggest taking a look at the "draft" version of the next generation science standards which were eleased for comments last summer. There is an EXCELLENT engineering component to the draft and using these as a tentative guide for designing s program in your school may place you ahead of the game if the final version of these standards is anything like the draft.

You might want to lead up to the convention with school or class projects which poses a problem that begs for a solution around the school. For example, during rain storms a great deal of water collects in one of the courtyards. Is there a way to better use or redirect this run-off? You might have a facilitites person discuss the types of requirements his/her office has to meet for these types of considerations. Follow this up with student designs, models, testing, etc....and proposals which are then presented to the staff for consideration. They will offer modifications and the design process continues with testing, etc... again.

After this group process, the kids will be primed to be creative and tackle more independent inquiry projects.

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