8th grader resources for the Maine Invention Convention


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The Invention Convention is a statewide competition that promotes innovative problem solving and inventing by Maine middle school students. Throughout the school year, students work with their peers and teachers to identify and solve problems by using the Innovation Engineering process. After competing against their peers at the school level, top students will be invited to attend the state conference, at the University of Maine, where students from each participating school compete for the top invention awards.

State Competition

The Invention Convention State Competition brings together the top students in grades 6-8 from middle schools around the state. A variety of judges, from educators to industry experts, will judge the competition on a variety of factors. Students will be judges on the following deliverables:

Inventor’s Notebooks
"Students will keep a daily log of activities related to the invention project in one of two

#Notebook- Handwritten or typed (printed) entries should be in pen, dated and signed.
#Digital - should be printed and permanently attached chronologically into the notebook, dated and signed.
Photographs should be date stamped and permanently attached into the notebook Entries should be thoughtful and informative.
Should document the innovation process in detail including all research, experimentation and survey results.
Should include the results of patent and trademark search.

Innovation Concepts
Complete at least three innovation cards for their final idea. Each card should be written to a different audience, or with a different marketing message, for the same invention.

Patent and Trademark Search
Student should understand if their idea is patentable (design or utility), or if best kept as a trade secret "Results should include documentation of at least three patents for similar inventions

Mock Provisional Patent Application "Documentation of research

Thoughtful completion of application

Model or prototype of your invention as applicable.

Relevance of model/prototype to final idea

Documentation of changes/improvements to prototype !Conduct a survey

Completed survey

Type of survey is either idea starter, problem, product, concept survey !

Perform Life Cycle Assessment

Examines materials and recyclability, environmental impacts of invention "Completion of Life Cycle Assessment
"Thoughtfulness of work

Create a business card.
Includes student’s name, contact information, product name, and headline suggestive of

product benefit

Create a promotional brochure.
Clearly explains the problem being solved
Clearly explains the product promise
Provides clear proof for the promise
Easy to understand the intended audience
Includes product name, company name, contact person, and contact information

Create an advertisement
Should publicize the innovation
Should express the problem, promise and proof of the invention

Display Board
Ease of understanding

Visually appealing
Includes graph of survey results "Answers the questions:

Would the intended audience want it? #Does it really work?
Is it affordable?

Shared from LMS in Old Town

Invention Convention

Step 1: Identify Problems

In your Inventor's Notebook, identify three areas of interest. Interview at least three people (for each interest) about the problems they experience in your area of interest. Also, observe others in the process of doing something (cooking, cleaning, shopping, studying, playing a sport, etc.). This will help you think of problems that need solutions!

The People Behind the Way We Live

Step 2: Generate Ideas

Brainstorm ideas that could solve the problems that have been identified. 

Take your ideas through the elimination process-

Is your idea....   

meaningfully unique? 

solve a problem?

reasonably priced?

one that you are passionate about?

problematic in any way?

Fill out a concept page in your notebook to brainstorm your idea. After you build your idea, fill out two more on your idea to describe different target markets.

Step 3: Gather Information and Make it Real!

Patent Search and Application                                                              

Student FAQs

What is Intellectual Property?

      1. Complete a Google Patent Search to find similar inventions

      2. Document your search in your Inventor's Notebook

      3. Determine if your invention requires a utility or design patent

      4. Complete a Mock Patent Application

  1. Build a model or prototype of your invention. 

      1. Document your process in your Inventor's Notebook, including design changes.

  2. Conduct a survey and create graphs.   

      1. Document your survey in your Inventor's Notebook

      2. Complete the Financial Worksheet.

      3. Survey people in your target audience to determine:

        1. Find out if the person fits your survey. Then, ask:

        2. Do you feel that the product solves the problem?

        3. Would you purchase the product?

        4. How much would you pay for the product (give options of pricing based on financial worksheet)?

      4. Analyze your results and create graphs.

        1.  How Do I Choose Which Type of Graph?

  3. Complete the Life Cycle Assessment.

      1. Use the TEMPLATE in google drive to organize your information for the backboard.

Step 4: Present your Invention

Create a business card.

      1. Includes your name, school contact information, product name, and headline suggestive of product benefit

  1. Create a promotional brochure.

      1. Clearly explains the problem being solved

      2. Clearly explains the product promise

      3. Provides clear proof of the promise

      4. Easy to understand the target audience

      5. Includes your name, company name, product name, and school contact information

  2. Create an advertisement.

      1. Should publicize the innovation

      2. Should express the problem, promise, and proof of the invention

  3. Assemble your display board.

      1. Easy to understand

      2. Visually appealing

      3. Answers the following questions:

        1. Would the intended audience want it?

        2. Does it really work?

        3. Is it affordable?

Additional Economics Links

May 2012 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates