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2020 Invent It Challenge

Credit: Cricket Media, Inc.

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and Cricket Media have partnered for the past nine years to bring the Spark!Lab Invent It Challenge to students across the globe. The challenge is a free, STEM-focused contest open to students ages 5-18 that inspires them to solve real-world global issues through creativity and exploration. Smithsonian Affiliates are invited to share this opportunity with their visitors and incorporate it into Affiliate programming!

Here are some easy ways to promote the Challenge to your visitors or use in your own programming:
  • Use this flyer to spread the word about the 2020 Invent It Challenge to your visitors, school groups, and teachers.
  • Post this image across your social media outlets to inform your audience of the wonderful opportunity the Challenge presents for students to use their creativity and knowledge of science to make a positive impact on the world around them.
  • Introduce students to the 7-Step Invention Process using this introduction video and challenge them to think of how it can be applied to help create a solution to a wide variety of local, regional, or global issues.
  • Set up a whiteboard and have students play this interactive game from Smithsonian called “Pick Your Plate” to stimulate conversation around healthy food and how people across the globe might access it.
  • Show this inspirational video for possible ways to help solve the global issue of accessing healthy food and hold a question and answer session with students to get them thinking about what they could invent to address this issue.
Want to learn more about how the 2020 Invent It Challenge aligns with your programming, and what resources are available to you to promote it? Join our webinar on January 22nd, 2020, from 2-3 pm (EST)! Featured presenters include:
  • Sharon Klotz, Head of Invention Education at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
  • Laura Woodside, Senior Vice President of Education Products at Cricket Media, Inc.
  • Patricia Genovese, Teacher of Past Winners from California

RSVP for the webinar!

About the Invent It Challenge
Each year, the Lemelson Center and Cricket Media develop a theme related to an important global issue. By choosing themes that address significant global issues, the Invent It Challenge allows students to realize they can make an important difference in their world by applying their skills, knowledge, and creativity to come up with solutions to the challenges people around the world face daily. The 2020 theme focuses on what students can invent to help improve people’s access to healthy food. The fact that approximately 25% of the world’s 7.8 billion people struggle to access safe, nutritious food illustrates the importance and global nature of this issue.

Credit: Cricket Media, Inc.

To submit an entry, students have to follow the Lemelson Center’s 7-Step Invention Process and document their progress through each step in a PowerPoint or video. To help them get started, students should review the Entry Guide, which includes everything they’ll need:

  • A list of Topics and Resources to help them generate ideas,
  • an Inventor’s Notebook to help them keep track of their progress through the seven steps,
  • and a Rubric to help them self-assess.
When students are ready, they can use this PowerPoint template to document their journey, or they can create their own presentations or videos. Judges at the Lemelson Center and Cricket Media evaluate each entry according to how deeply students engage with each step and how well they document their journey. In addition to great prizes from Faber Castell, Cricket Media, and others, students can win a multi-day trip to Washington, D.C. where their inventions get permanently displayed at the Spark!Lab! Entries are due by 11:59 pm (EST) on April 10, 2020.

Questions before the webinar? Email affiliates@si.edu.

Credit: Cricket Media, Inc.

Coming Up in Affiliateland in January 2020

Happy new year all! We look forward to a collaborative and engaging 2020.

NORTH CAROLINA
The North Carolina Museum of History will screen the Smithsonian Channel film Civil War 360: Fight for Freedom in Raleigh, 1.8.

MASSACHUSETTS

View of the new Spark!Lab maker space for youth at the Springfield Museums in Massachusetts

The new Spark!Lab at the Springfield Museums, a dynamic learning space for families to explore invention and innovation.

The Springfield Museums open a new Spark!Lab Smithsonian, followed by a lecture on Springfield as a Place of Invention by Eric Hintz, historian at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History, in Springfield, 1.17.

IOWA
The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium will screen several Smithsonian Channel films including Epic Yellowstone: Down the River Wild, Aerial America: Wilderness and more, in Dubuque, 1.18-20.

OKLAHOMA
The Oklahoma History Center will screen Smithsonian Channel films Drinks, Crime and Prohibition-Gangsters and G-Men and Drinks, Crime, and Prohibition-Flappers and Bootleggers, in Oklahoma City, 1.18.

 

Coming up in Affiliateland in November 2017

We’re thankful for all the activity in Affiliateland this month. Happy Thanksgiving Affiliates!

D.C.
Two Affiliates are loaning objects to The Sweat of their Face: Portraying American Workers exhibition at the Smithsonian. The Lowell National Historical Park has lent a wood engraving by Winslow Homer and the High Museum has lent a photograph by Peter Sekaer and an oil painting by Francis Hyman Criss. Opening at the National Portrait Gallery, 11.3.

CALIFORNIA
The San Diego History Center opens the Mail Call exhibition (SITES) which explores the history of America’s military postal system, in San Diego, 11.4.

MASSACHUSETTS
Richard Kurin, Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large, will lecture on his book, Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem at the Springfield Museums, 11.5.

NATIONWIDE
Teens at five Affiliates continue to advise the Smithsonian through the Secretary’s Youth Advisory Council, meeting again via videoconference from Fort Worth, Corning, Cincinnati, Dearborn and Greenville, 11.8.

GEORGIA

From the Ocean Optimism initiative website, oceanoptimism.org

Dr. Nancy Knowlton, senior scientist emerita from the Smithsonian’s Tropical Research Institute in Panama, will give a Science on Tap lecture to discuss the Ocean Optimism Initiative, at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, 11.14.

ALABAMA
A new Smithsonian Spark!Lab, an immersive, interactive place for exploring invention, will open at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, 11.24.

Things Come Together for “Things Come Apart”

Disassembled flip clock

Flip clock made by Sanyo in the 1970s, component count: 426 © Todd McLellan

Special thanks to Rene Rodgers at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum for sharing this blog with us. Things Come Apart, organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, is on view at the museum through October 8, 2017.

“Things Come Apart is not our “usual” type of exhibit, one where the focus is on the history of early country music, the musical legacy of this region, or other related social and cultural topics. However, one of our aims with the museum’s Special Exhibits Gallery is to also choose interesting and engaging exhibits that will serve to bring new audiences into the museum and expand the educational resources offered to our local community. With this type of exhibit, we also work hard to find ways to relate the exhibit’s subject to our content or to music, for instance through panels and artifact supplements or the related programming and outreach.”

Read the whole blog post here.