I am a member of ePals, a global community for learners. ePals has partnered with a branch of the Smithsonian National Museum in Washington, The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation, to sponsor an invention challenge aimed at young people.
SparkLab is aimed at inspiring young people to be creative. The target age group is 6-12 although anyone is welcome. There is even a SparkLab zone for kids under the age of 5. SparkLab provides activities focused on the process involved in inventing things. They describe the process as follows:
- Identify a problem or need (Think it)
- Conduct research (Explore it)
- Make sketches (Sketch it)
- Build prototypes (Create it)
- Test the invention (Try it)
- Refine it (Tweak it)
- Market the invention (Sell it)
There is a lab bench, an invention corner, an archive of past inventions, and invention play kits.
The Invent It Challenge has categories for different age groups. These are:
Category I — Ages 5-7
Category II — Ages 8-11
Category III — Ages 12-14
Category IV — Ages 15+
Here is a link to the posted rules.
Times running out because entries must be uploaded or emailed by January 4, 2013 or postmarked using snail mail no later than January 1, 2013.
Winners get help with patent application filing and LEGO kits. Hopefully one of those LEGO prizes is Mindstorm.