Inventors Start Here

Welcome to the Young Inventors’ Program!

This program is for YOU, the inventor! We are here to help you develop ideas, solve problems, build inventions, and present your projects. Along the way, you will meet other students just like you who are exploring science, technology, and engineering.

Please note, YIP is a program hosted in many schools and community organizations throughout Northern New England and beyond. If your school/community has a YIP program, we encourage you to participate through them. However, for students who do not have a local YIP, you may invent independently. Read on for how to begin.

Young Inventor with Poster

Why Invent with YIP?

Students are at the center of the Young Inventors’ Program. We are unique among similar programs in that we let you pick the problem you wish to solve. While we offer challenges and special categories, the heart of our program is imagination — the spark of creativity and innovation in every young person. 

You have options for how and what you want to invent. The Young Inventors' Program includes categories of competition that allow you to be creative and solve problems in all sorts of fun ways. Categories include:

General Invention- Design an original invention that solves a problem of your choosing. 

Challenge Invention- Design an original invention that solves a problem to address our "Challenge" topic. Challenge topics change from year to year- see Competitions for this year's challenge.

Rube Goldberg Machine- Take an alternative approach to problem solving to design a contraption that uses chain reaction to perform a simple task. Each year, we select a new task for you to solve using a series of simple machines put together in a complicated way- see Competitions for this year's assigned task.

To learn more about each category and the requirements for participation and competition, please see Competitions.


Take Risks

As you begin your journey, we encourage you to take positive risks. Ask questions. Be creative. Most important, do not be afraid to fail. Innovation is all about testing and re-testing and pushing boundaries to make the world a better place. No matter where your journey takes you, you will learn new things, challenge yourself, and ultimately be successful.


Become a Young Inventor

YIP began as a program for schools and community organizations to teach invention in classrooms more than 45 years ago. But we know that many students do not have YIP in your school or local area and want to invent too. We encourage you to talk to your school or community based program to begin a YIP site. (Contact YIP for more information on starting a new program.) However, if you want to invent independently at home, you can.


Independent Student Inventing at Home

YES, you can invent with us! If you are a YIP alumni or your local school/community doesn’t host a YIP site, you can invent with us as an Independent Student. You can choose to create an original invention or a Rube Goldberg Machine. For general and challenge inventions, we have created 8 activity plans that follow the steps of the invention process with guides, worksheets, and slides to help you explore so you can create your own invention at home. Resources include:

  • Student Guides that walk you through the lesson plans
  • Hands-on and off-screen activities to help you apply your learning to the real world
  • Power Point Slides to complement lessons
  • Worksheets to work through each step
  • YIP Inventors’ Journal: you can request a printed copy or use this PDF file to print your own or use the journal as a Word doc.

If you wish to design a Rube Goldberg Machine, you can use the Rube Goldberg Machine Curriculum to guide you. This unit includes:

  • Lesson Plans that walk you through hands-on activities to help you understand simple machines and how to put them together. 
  • Google Slides to complement lessons
  • Worksheets to work through each step
  • YIP Rube Goldberg Machine Inventors’ Journal: you can request a printed copy or use this PDF file to print your own.


Before You Start: Let Us Know You’re Inventing

Please let us know that you are using the Young Inventors’ Program by signing up! Please get your parent/guardian’s permission to share your email address with us.

Why sign-up? By signing-up, we will send you more materials, tips, updates, and access to live STEMinars. You will also be invited to showcase your invention in our Independent Student Invention Fair in the spring.


More Resources

Click around our website to find tools, tips, resources, and events such as:

Coming Soon

  • STEMinars to meet inventors and other students who are inventing
  • Digital display boards for student presentations

Inventor's Journals

Documenting your invention process is a required part of YIP. You can use your own log book, request a printed one the sign-up page, or download one of these Inventor’s Journal files