Invention Convention: The Ultimate STEM Program

Academy students and Mr. Holmes at Connecticut Invention Convention
Academy students and Mr. Holmes at Connecticut Invention Convention

If you are a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) teacher, or any teacher who wants to help students learn STEM skills, Invention Convention is a superb way to introduce and practice these skills. The first step is to take advantage of the training the Connecticut Invention Convention organization offers to teachers–I did it last fall, and it was extremely helpful. The second step is to decide how to incorporate Invention Convention in your classroom and school. There are different options. You can make it part of a class, which is what I did; you can make it the focus of a club or extracurricular group; or you can introduce it to your students, then let them work independently on their own. Making it part of a class is the best option, as you can engage all your students. It is also realistically doable, as the process Invention Convention requires students to use to develop their inventions is in line with the engineering design process in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Therefore, if you put a unit in your curriculum to introduce Invention Convention to your students, then use an occasional lesson to help your students prepare to compete, you will find you are following the NGSS and helping your students develop a passion for STEM.

Today three students from the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering competed at the Connecticut Invention Convention, a state-level competition held at UCONN Storrs. Alek Jorge invented the Lumi-Purse to solve the problem of trying to find items in a dark purse interior. Alexis Santo invented the SmartSleeper to solve the problem of electric and electronic devices remaining on all night when you fall asleep. Jasmine Barber, one of our new Academy students, invented the FridgTech to solve the problem of having expired food in a refrigerator. To be able to come to the state competition, these students had to earn top inventor awards at our local Newington Invention Convention on April 6th where four volunteers from GKN Aerospace judged 28 student inventors from grades 5 through 7. GKN Aerospace also generously hosted a sendoff dinner last night for these students. The state competition today had 500 volunteers from many organizations judging 850 student inventors from grades 4 through 8. At today’s award ceremony, Alek earned the Recognized Inventor award for being among the top third of student inventor, and Alexis earned the Eversource Award for promoting electric power conservation.

GKN Aerospace hosts sendoff dinner for inventors and their families
GKN Aerospace hosts sendoff dinner for inventors and their families
Academy Intern Kate Morehead with inventors at the state competition
Intern Kate Morehead with Academy inventors at the state competition

Other photos of the inventors and of the floor of Gampel Pavilion with 850 student inventions:


The award winners:


Author: Bryan Holmes, Physics & Math Teacher, STEM Competition Mentor

Starting at Thomaston High School in Thomaston, Connecticut, in fall of 2018.

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