Northern New England Invention Convention

2022 Northern Nerw England Invention Convention Graphic

The capstone regional event for the Young Inventors’ Program is the Northern New England Invention Convention. Students from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont showcase their projects and celebrate together with the University of New Hampshire, board, and volunteers.

 

COMING SOON!

2023 Northern New England Invention Convention event information. Please come back in the late fall for details and announcements regarding this year's competition.

 In the meantime you can watch the Awards Ceremony from our 2022 NNE Invention Convention from March 2022 here:

Watch the recorded ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwVcQRMxCXQ

If you have any questions, please contact Tina White, Director of the Young Inventors’ Program:
Tina.White@unh.edu
(603) 862-3401

Teacher Nomination Deadline:
TBA for 2023

*All inventors participating in the NNE-IC must be nominated by a YIP teacher/leader in order to receive an invitation to the regional event. Independent Inventors (homeschool students or those inventing independently at home) must compete in the Independent Student Invention Fair to be eligible for nomination.

Nominate Students*
* Only YIP teachers/leaders may nominate students for the regional event

Registration Cost: $25 per inventor
If cost is a barrier, YIP offers scholarships for students. Instructions will be included in nomination messages.


Categories of Competition

General Invention Category

The General Invention Category includes most inventions developed through the YIP program. These inventions address any problem the inventor has identified and their designed solution. From environmental concerns, helping those with physical disabilities, to pet care and fun and leisure inventions, projects in the general category cover an infinite range of topics.

Challenge Category

Each year, the Young Inventors’ Program offers an additional challenge. Inventors who accept the challenge must incorporate a special element into their invention design. The Challenge Category includes all inventions which incorporate the year’s theme. The Challenge may provide more direction for students who need guidance to choose a problem to solve, or for those students seeking to push themselves to think outside of the box around the challenge theme.

2022-23 Challenge Category

Weather or Not? 

Weather is unpredictable and unpreventable. It happens, whether we like it or not. We have parkas and umbrellas to keep us warm and dry, but these are not 100% effective. Create an invention that will help us be more comfortable and/or safe no matter what the weather.

Chain Reaction Machine Category

The Chain Reaction Machine Category (formerly known as the Rube Goldberg® Machine Category) allows inventors to design a contraption or device that is deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task in a complicated fashion. These inventions are not eligible to advance to Invention Convention U.S. Nationals as they do not include this category.

Students nominated by their YIP teachers/leaders will receive an official invitation from YIP to participate in the NNE- Invention Convention. All details and requirements for competition will be shared with the inventors and their families as they prepare for the event. All students will be expected to fully participate in the invention convention, either in-person or virtually. Each inventor should have their invention project, including their Inventor Journal or logbook, a pre-recorded video presentation, and a tri-fold/3-panel display board. All inventors will participate in judging sessions. Each inventor must be accompanied by a parent/guardian at the competition. Parents/guardians are required to complete the media release form part of the registration process.

Students participating as Independent Inventors must participate in the Independent Student Invention Fair where they may be nominated.

1) Inventor Journal/Logbook

The journal/logbook documents the student’s journey and all aspects of their invention process from the time they begin their project until they finish. The journal will describe the evolution of the invention and how it was changed as it developed, including brainstorming ideas, design plans, materials used, tests and observations, and modifications made. It should be a written record of the process of creating the invention and should be written as the invention is being worked on, not written as a report after the project is complete.

The journal/logbook should include the following:

  • Title Page with Student(s) name(s), grade, school, city, and state
  • At least one labeled design/sketch/diagram of invention
  • Statement of Originality
  • Intent to Invent (statement of the problem and your invention solution)
  • Materials List

TIPS

  • Sign and date pages as you add entries during your invention process.
  • Use pen or pencil and do not erase. Mistakes and failures are part of the process and it is important to see how the invention changed as it was developed.
  • The journal can be messy, but it must be readable. Notes and pages crossed-out are ok to show how you made changes as you worked. You want to show the entire process, even the parts that did not go as expected.

2) Display Board

A traditional tri-fold/3 panel display board is required to provide a visual aid for presentation. Inventors are encouraged to be creative in their displays to best communicate their ideas. Materials for the display may be handwritten or printed and pasted. Displays may illustrate how the idea was thought up, research performed, tests and results data, other peoples impressions about the usefulness of the invention or personal testimonies of the invention’s uses. Photos and design drawings are strongly recommended.

Maximum size: maximum of 48″ wide and 36″ tall (the board should be 24″ with both 12″ sides folded in.)

Displays must include the following:

  • Student(s) name(s)
  • Grade(s)
  • School name
  • School city, state
  • Invention Name
  • Statement of the problem
  • Explanation of the invention as a solution to the problem
  • Details of the model/prototype construction
  • Diagrams of Design

TIPS

  • The display should be balanced and organized in a logical, sequential order.
  • Keep the amount of text to a minimum.
  • All text should be easy to read (think about size of lettering and bold colors) and neat.
  • Photographs, illustrations/drawings, and charts are strongly encouraged.

3) Presentation/Pitch

Each inventor will be asked to speak about their invention for 3-6 minutes in front of judges and peers during the invention convention. Presentations are an opportunity for the inventor to share their idea and how it was developed. Inventors are encouraged to talk about the steps they took to design and build their model, their tests and results, challenges they faced throughout the project and modifications they made to their invention. Inventors may show models and use their display board as a visual prop as they speak. A brief Question & Answer session will follow each inventor’s presentation to allow judges to ask questions and inventors to share more about their project. Young inventors (grades K-2) may use notecards or be prompted by nearby adult; inventors in grades 3-4 may use notecards; and inventors in grades 5-12 may not use notecards.

All presentations should include the following:

  • Student(s) name(s)
  • Grade(s)
  • School name
  • School city, state
  • Invention Name

TIPS

  • Practice out loud in front of a family member, teacher or friend at least 5 times to become familiar with your speech. You can also practice alone in front of a mirror.
  • Take a deep breath. If you get nervous, it is ok to pause, take a breath, and start over. There is no rush when speaking and your audience appreciates time to think about what you are saying as well.
  • Time yourself. Time yourself as you give your presentation from start to finish. Speak at a normal pace, which will probably seem slower than you think it should.
  • Make eye contact with your audience as you speak. Try to make eye contact at least 3 times.
  • Summarize and restate. At the end of your presentation, repeat your most important points to summarize your project.
  • SMILE! When you smile, your whole body relaxes. And smiling is contagious- if you smile, your audience will too.

4) Video

All inventors must submit a pre-recorded video presentation for competition. Videos will be used to evaluate originality of the idea and may be used for competition if the format of the competition is changed last minute as deemed necessary by the Young Inventors' Program.

Videos should introduce the inventor/s by name, school, town and grade and the name of the invention and the problem it solves. The video should address the originality of the invention and the research done to discover what makes it unique or an improvement on a product that already exists. Students should also talk about the steps of the invention process, the challenges encountered, any tests and their results and the modifications made during the invention process.  Inventors are encouraged to stand in front of their display and show their model/prototype during the video.

If students are part of a team, the group may choose one inventor to present the team’s video. That inventor will be responsible for filming the video and sharing the link with team members so that ALL team members submit the video using the same link as part of their individual registration.  The inventor who does the video presentation should have the display board and prototype to use in the video, if possible, and should mention each team member’s name at the start of the video. If your team is able to shoot the video together (using an online social platform, or if you were able to gather together), all members must participate. This is ideal.

All presentations should include the following:

  • Student(s) name(s)
  • Grade(s)
  • School name
  • School city, state
  • Invention Name
  • GRADES K-2: 3-6 min. in length (maybe shorter); notecards and/or adult prompting allowed
  • GRADES 3-4: 4-6 minutes in length (may be shorter); notecards, but no prompting allowed
  • GRADES 5-12: 4-6 minutes in length (may be shorter); neither notecards nor prompting allowed 

TIPS

  • Max length- 6 minutes, it’s ok to be less.

  • Film horizontally.

  • Videos must be recorded continuous- no stopping and re-starting during filming.

  • No editing is permitted.

  • Reading full script is discouraged. Practice what you plan to say before filming.

  • Use your prototype and display board in the video.

  • Film with a smartphone or video camera. Remember to hold the phone horizontally.

  • Find a quiet, well-lit spot where you can set up your display board, invention and you have room to present. Natural light from windows works well. Do not stand in front of the window, as you will appear as a shadow. The light should be coming toward you, the invention and your display board.

  • Use a loud, clear voice. You may want to practice this a few times with the camera.

  • Before recording, take a deep breath and relax. Remember, you are the expert on your invention!

5) Prototype/Model/Design

A 3-D model or prototype of the invention is strongly recommended, but not required for competition. A detailed, labeled drawing of the design is sufficient for the display and presentation. Prototypes and models may be working or non-working. Inventors are encouraged to build models that are “materials neutral”, meaning they can be made of reused and recycled materials and the overall product should not require money to buy materials. Any materials that are used, whether purchased or found/borrowed, should be listed in the Materials List in the inventor’s journal/logbook.

5) Registration & Release forms

  • Complete our registration form with $25 participation fee.
  • Scholarships available if cost is an issue. Please email YIP if cost will prevent you from participating: Tina.White@unh.edu.
  • All required releases (participation, media, etc.) are included in the registration and details for submission will also be included.

 

Online registration for the 2023 Northern New England Invention Convention will be opening Winter 2022-23.

1) Inventor Journal/Logbook

The journal/logbook documents the student’s journey and all aspects of the creation of their chain reaction machine from the time they begin their project until they finish. The journal will describe the evolution of the machine, the simple machines it uses, and how it completes a task. The journal should record brainstorming ideas, design plans, materials used, tests and observations, and modifications made. It should be written as the machine is being worked on, not written as a report after the project is complete.

The journal/logbook should include the following:

  • Title Page with Student(s) name(s), grade, school, city, and state
  • At least one labeled design/sketch/diagram of chain reaction machine
  • Statement of the problem by the machine or task being done
  • Explanation of the use of simple machines to complete the task
  • Details of the model/prototype construction
  • Diagrams of Design
  • Materials List

TIPS

  • Sign and date pages as you add entries during your invention process.
  • Use pen or pencil and do not erase. Mistakes and failures are part of the process and it is important to see how the machine changed as it was developed.
  • The journal can be messy, but it must be readable. Notes and pages crossed-out are ok to show how you made changes as you worked. You want to show the entire process, even the parts that did not go as expected.

2) Chain Reaction Machine

The chain reaction machine itself is the heart of the invention project and is a required element for competition. A small display may accompany the machine, but the machine serves as the main attraction for this category.

Chain Reaction Machines must include the following:

  • Student(s) name(s)
  • Grade(s)
  • School name
  • School city, state
  • Chain Reaction Machine Name
  • Statement of the task being completed

All Chain Reaction Machines must also:

  • Take at least 6 steps to complete the desired task
  • Steps and machine components should be labeled appropriately on display or machine
  • Incorporate a minimum of 4 of the following simple machines
    • Wheel & Axel
    • Pulley
    • Inclined Plane
    • Screw
    • Wedge
    • Lever

3) Presentation/Pitch

Each inventor will be asked to speak about their chain reaction machine for 2-3 minutes in front of judges and peers during the invention convention. Presentations are an opportunity for the inventor to share their idea for designing the machine to complete a specific task and how it was developed. Inventors are encouraged to talk about the simple machines they used and how these machines work together, the steps they took to design and build their model, their tests and results, challenges they faced throughout the project and modifications they made to their machine. Following the presentation, the inventor will have an additional 3-4 minutes to put their machine into action to perform a complete and successful run to complete the task. A brief Question & Answer session will follow each presentation to allow judges to ask questions and inventors to share more about their project. Young inventors (grades K-2) may use notecards or be prompted by nearby adult; inventors in grades 3-4 may use notecards; and inventors in grades 5-12 may not use notecards.

All presentations should include the following:

  • Student(s) name(s)
  • Grade(s)
  • School name
  • School city, state
  • Chain Reaction Machine Name

TIPS

  • Practice out loud in front of a family member, teacher or friend at least 5 times to become familiar with your speech. You can also practice alone in front of a mirror.
  • Take a deep breath. If you get nervous, it is ok to pause, take a breath, and start over. There is no rush when speaking and your audience appreciates time to think about what you are saying as well.
  • Time yourself. Time yourself as you give your presentation from start to finish. Speak at a normal pace, which will probably seem slower than you think it should.
  • Make eye contact with your audience as you speak. Try to make eye contact at least 3 times.
  • Summarize and restate. At the end of your presentation, repeat your most important points to summarize your project.
  • SMILE! When you smile, your whole body relaxes. And smiling is contagious- if you smile, your audience will too.

4) Video

All inventors competing in the Chain Reaction Machine Category must submit ONE pre-recorded video for competition. The video will explain the development of the project, the machines used, and how the machine completes the task. The video must also show the chain reaction machine in motion from start to finish. 

Video:  4-6 minutes (may be shorter); students should introduce the video with their name/s, grade/s, school, town and state and invention name. The video should also explain the invention, the problem it solves, the steps of the invention process, challenges faced, and any modifications made during the invention's development. The video must also demonstrate the chain reaction invention completing it's desired task in action, from start to finish in a continuous run. Ideally the task will be completed successfully.

If students are part of a team, the group may choose one inventor to present the team’s videos. That inventor will be responsible for filming the videos and sharing the links with team members so that ALL team members submit the videos using the same links as part of their individual registration.  The inventor who does the video presentations should have the chain reaction machine to use in the video, if possible, and should mention each team member’s name at the start of the video. If your team is able to shoot the video together (using an online social platform, or if you were able to gather together), all members must participate. This is ideal.

All presentations should include the following:

  • Student(s) name(s)
  • Grade(s)
  • School name
  • School city, state
  • Chain Reaction Machine Name
  • GRADES K-2: notecards and/or adult prompting allowed
  • GRADES 3-4: notecards, but no prompting allowed
  • GRADES 5-12: neither notecards nor prompting allowed 

TIPS

  • Max length- 2-3 minutes for Video #1 and 3-4 minutes for Video #2, it’s ok to be less.

  • Film horizontally.

  • Videos must be recorded continuous- no stopping and re-starting during filming.

  • No editing is permitted.

  • Reading full script is discouraged. Practice what you plan to say before filming.

  • Use your chain reaction machine in the video.

  • Film with a smartphone or video camera. Remember to hold the phone horizontally.

  • Find a quiet, well-lit spot where you can set up your display board, invention and you have room to present. Natural light from windows works well. Do not stand in front of the window, as you will appear as a shadow. The light should be coming toward you, the invention and your display board.

  • Use a loud, clear voice. You may want to practice this a few times with the camera.

  • Before recording, take a deep breath and relax. Remember, you are the expert on your invention!

5) Registration & Release forms

  • Complete our registration form with $25 participation fee.
  • Scholarships available if cost is an issue. Please email YIP if cost will prevent you from participating: Tina.White@unh.edu.
  • All required releases (participation, media, etc.) are included in the registration and details for submission will also be included.

Online registration for the 2023 Northern New England Invention Convention will be opening Winter 2022-23.

 

The following items are not allowed on your person or in your project:

  • Electric stun guns, martial arts weapons or devices
  • Guns, replica guns, ammunition, and fireworks
  • Knives of any size
  • Mace and pepper spray
  • Razors and box cutters

Inventors from grades K-12 who have participated in a school/local Invention Fair and have been nominated by their teacher or leader are eligible to compete in the regional Invention Convention. Independent Inventors (homeschool students or those inventing independently at home) must compete in the Independent Student Invention Fair to be eligible for nomination. Nominated inventors must register for the regional event by the stated deadline. Individuals and teams may compete in only one of the three categories of competition.

The Young Inventors’ Program encourages collaboration and welcomes teams to compete in the Northern New England Invention Convention. Teams may compete against individuals, and vice versa. All team members must participate in the development of the invention and should keep their own YIP Inventors Journal or invention logbook. If competing in the regional event, all team members who wish to participate must register individually (it is fine if only one or some of the team participates while others opt out if all members agree). All team members must submit their own registration, including their own invention journal and the same link to the team video/s.

Rules for Teams:

  • Two (2) students will be allowed per General or Challenge Invention Team.
  • Teams of up to five (5) students will be allowed per Chain Reaction Machine Team.
  • Students do not have to be from the same grade. However, students will compete in the highest grade level on the team.
  • Each student can enter only one project (General Invention, Challenge Invention or Chain Reaction Machine) for the School/Local Invention Fair (or Independent Student Invention Fair), the regional Invention Convention, and the Invention Convention U.S. Nationals.
  • No student can enter both an individual and a team project.
  • Teams will compete against individuals and vice versa.
  • The judging process for individuals and teams is exactly the same at all levels.

The judging process is an important component of the regional competition. Judges at the Northern New England Invention Convention receive training to understand the goal of the program and their roles as judges.

As they review inventors’ projects, judges are asked to keep in mind that:

  • All participants are winners, having already won at their school/local level.
  • Participants include some first-time inventors. They may be nervous in their presentations.
  • Judging process is a positive experience for students to showcase their ideas and celebrate their accomplishments.
  • Presentations will not be judged on the quality of video submissions; rather the content and ideas presented by students.

Inventions at the Northern New England Invention Convention will be judged according to category of competition: General Inventions, Challenge Inventions, and Chain Reaction Machine Inventions. Judges will be assigned in teams of at least two people for grade level awards.

Each category of competition will be evaluated on a set of stated criteria by the judging team. Judges will be given a standard rubric/scoresheet to guide their evaluations. Judges will discuss their notes and their scores and to deliberate before selecting winners in various award categories.

General Inventions & Challenge Inventions criteria

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 project summarize why a user should have the product/service to better solve a problem than alternative offerings? 
  • Does the invention have marketable value?

Research Performed

  • Was time and effort given to see if this invention has already been invented?

Video Presentation 

  • Does the inventor communicate effectively and appropriately through their video?

 

*For Challenge Inventions Only (in addition to above)

  • The invention addresses the specific challenge problem/need/theme.

Chain Reaction Machine Inventions criteria

Use of Simple Machines

  • Is there evidence of 4 simple machines used at least once
    • wheel & axle
    • pulley
    • incline plane
    • screw
    • wedge
    • lever

Construction/Complexity

  • Is it safe and reasonably well constructed?
  • Does the task use at least 6 steps?

Creativity

  • Creativity and overall appearance of the completed contraption and the task it accomplishes.

Video Presentation 

  • Does the inventor communicate effectively and appropriately through their video?

The Young Inventors’ Program seeks to inspire and encourage students to engage in STEM activities at all levels. Participation is always recognized and inventors are commended for their efforts to challenge themselves and to take positive risks to create and present their inventions. All inventors are considered successful and we strive to celebrate their accomplishments.

Awards are presented in addition to recognition for participation in all three categories of competition, across grade levels, in designated specialty categories, and best in show achievement. In addition, the Young Inventors’ Program will grant Best In Show awards which may change year to year. An inventor/team may win up to two awards at the Northern New England Invention Convention.

Select winners at the regional Invention Convention will be invited to represent the Northern New England region at the Invention Convention U.S. Nationals hosted by Invention Convention Worldwide in partnership with the Henry Ford. Designated regional Invention Convention awards serve as National Qualifiers and automatically qualify an inventor for the national competition. Other regional winners may be invited to participate at the national level as space allows and these inventors and their teachers will be contacted following the regional convention.

Program teachers and leaders nominate student winners from each school or organization’s local invention fair for the Northern New England Invention Convention. School and local programs may develop their own award systems and processes to nominate students for the Northern New England Invention Convention. Typically this allows schools/organizations to nominate the winning inventions in each of the categories of competition per grade level: General Invention Category, Challenge Invention Category, and Chain Reaction Machine Category. Nomination deadline is typically in early March.

Please remember that schools and organizations must be registered as a YIP Program to be able to nominate students for the regional competition. If you have not registered or are unsure, please contact us as soon as possible at (603) 862-3401.

Independent Inventors (homeschool students or those inventing independently at home) must compete in the Independent Student Invention Fair to be eligible for nomination.