Young Inventors' Program®


The Young Inventors' Program® is a positive approach to helping students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills by inviting them to invent solutions to everyday problems.

The invention process provides an opportunity for all students to participate and be successful. (See Program Components) All children can identify problems in their homes, schools or neighborhoods. Almost every day of their lives they will face at least one problem. Some examples of real-life problems, identified and solved by students, are: an unmade bed, a dog that eats the cat food, and a grandmother with a broken leg that must be elevated when she sits.

A unit on inventive thinking, which includes the production of an original invention, is limited only by the imagination of the teachers and students. You might ask, "with everything else I have to teach, why take the time for inventing?"

Research has shown that inventing will:

Students will also:

General Information

The Young Inventors' Program® reaches out to 600 New Hampshire schools and 5,000 students each year, bringing together 200 students at an annual statewide celebration representing 60 schools in New Hampshire. Created in New Hampshire, the program is now being taught in Nevada, New York and Massachusetts. Ongoing support is provided to teachers via a teacher manual, teacher-to-teacher training, teacher workshops and outside sources, with the goal of incorporating the invention process - creativity and problem solving - into the classroom, as well as through participation in after-school programs. The program is aimed at engaging all K-8 students to "think outside of the box" and encourages many students to participate who may not "fit the mold" for traditional sciences.

Guidelines for the Annual Celebration are published on the Academy's website in January. More detailed instruction can be found in the Meant To Invent!® Teachers' Guide.

Please call the Academy with questions at (603) 228-4530 or E-mail: .


Student Information

Teachers should share the following iformation with the student winners who will be attending the Annual Celebration.


The judging process is an important component of the celebration. Judges are assigned to each grade level to evaluate each invention and to ask pertinent questions of the inventor.
Inventions are judged on the following:

Originality- Does the invention represent an original and creative thought?
Is the invention a novel or unique solution to an identified problem?
Does the overall presentation of the invention reflect creative or original work?

Usefulness - Does the invention solve a problem or need?
Does the invention have marketable value?

Written Description/Presentation - Does the content of the written description clearly express the purpose of the invention and how it accomplishes its purpose?
Is the written description complete and appropriate for the inventor's grade level (the inventor's journal?)

Model/Illustration - Is the illustration complete, with all parts neatly labeled, and is a clear attractive, visual explanation of the invention (display board)?
Is the model and accurate replica of the idea?

Research Performed - Was time and effort given to see if this invention had already been invented?

General Categories
Judges may select one invention from each grade level for the following awards:

Best in Grade
Special Needs
Fun and Leisure Time
Practical and Useful
Original and Unique
Most Marketable

Inventors' Choice Award - Student inventors are asked to view all the other inventions (but must remain with their invention during the judging period). With ballots they receive at registration, they may vote for their favorite invention and Rube Goldberg® .

Rube Goldberg® Machines
Rube Goldberg® Machines are different from the inventions people are used to seeing. A Rube Goldberg® Machine makes a simple task complex. The materials used are the most important component of the machine. Students should be encouraged to use items around the house, i.e., raid an old toy chest, use broken appliances that need repair, etc. The machine must use a certain number of individual steps to complete an assigned task. The working construction of a Rube Goldberg® Machine must be considered safe to operate and must not cause damage. It must use 4 simple machines at least once: wheel & axle, inclined plane, lever and pulley or screw. A minimum of 6 steps is required to complete the task.

Rube Goldberg® Machines are divided into two groups: Individual projects & Team projects (limited to 4 students per team)

Rube Goldberg® Machines are judged on the following:

Simple Machines - Is there evidence of 4 simple machines used at least once: wheel & axle, pulley, inclined plane (includes screw or wedge) and or lever?

Construction/Complexity - Does the construction match the design (diagram or display board)?
Is it safe and reasonably well constructed?
Does the task use at least 6 steps?

Written/Oral Presentation - Is there a detailed diagram with tasks describing each stage (at least 6 steps labeled neatly in order?)
Oral description of steps and knowledge of the mechanics of simple machines.
Successful completion of task in one or two tries.

Creativity - Creativity and overall appearance of the completed contraption and the task it accomplishes (Extra complexities)

Judges may select one Rube Goldberg® Machine for each grade level for the following awards:

Original and Unique
Best Team Effort
Best Individual Effort
Most Complex