Young Inventors' Showcase - Teacher Resources
Invite your students to participate in the 25th Annual Young Inventors' Showcase!
Creating an Invention
Listed above are more details about each step and some examples to help. However, please keep in mind that this is a process, not a recipe. Follow the points that help you create your invention and avoid the ones that frustrate you, slow you down, or prevent you from completing your invention. Go in an order that makes sense for you and don’t be afraid to go back to a previous step.
Invention Lesson Plans
The lesson plans provided below are written for 4th grade TEKS, but can be adapted for classrooms in Kindergarten-Eighth grade:
Planning Your Time
We suggest the following timeline may be a good standard to follow when planning to develop an invention:
Week 1: Brainstorm and research ideas
Week 2: Develop a plan and a materials/tool list
Week 3: Build first prototype model
Week 4: Test, revise, and make changes to the prototype model
Week 5: Finish testing and revising the prototype model
Week 6: Complete your invention and competition materials
What is a Patent?
"A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the Patent and Trademark Office. The term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. US patent grants a re effective only within the US, US territories, and US possessions."- cited from USPTO website
Types of Patents:
Patented inventions must meet several requirements:
- Utility- Machine, article or manufacture, process, or composition of matter
- Design- Ornamental, design for an article of manufacture. Only a ppearance is protected.
- Plan- New, asexually reproduced plants
- Must New or Novel
- Must Useful to society
- Must be Non-obvious
How do you know if an invention is new or non-obvious? Search for Prior Art. Prior Art, or "state of the art" when referring to cutting edge technology, refers to all that is already public knowledge in the areas of science and technology.
What is a Preliminary US Patent Search?
A classification search of granted US patents and published applications (prior art) conducted to determine patentability (novelty) of an invention.
To find out how to conduct a Preliminary US Patent Search, click here.
2010 Young Inventors' Showcase Participant
Ragan King with Kid Friendly Hangers
For information about other Invention Resources for teachers offered at the Children's Museum, Check out these links!
Invention Convention Exhibit: Located in the Children's Museum Lower Level, Invention Convention provides an opportunity for children to apply their knowledge and understanding creatively through invention challenges. By working to solve these open-ended challenges, they develop a better understanding of the science and math behind the challenges and improve their problem solving and critical thinking skills. More than just an outlet for creative energies, Invention Convention is a program and a support network for young people interested in invention and engineering!
Inventors' Workshop: In a fully facilitated space located in the back of Invention Convention, children will tinker around as they experiment with science, art and technology integrated activities. Activities change from week to week and include animation, robotics, machines, sculptures, light and sound explorations, electronics, and chain reactions. Students will use scientific processes and engineering in a design-based activity in which the students design, build, test and redesign based on the specific challenge needs for that day.
School Field Experiences: Discover how the Children's Museum of Houston can become a part of your curriculum and classroom! Join our Education Team for action-packed, hands-on programs in science and technology, history and culture, health and human development, math, literacy and the arts through interactive exhibits and innovative workshops.
2010 Second Place WinnerChristina Lewellyn with La Reache