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Tips from a Judge!

Meet Tricia Edwards!

Tricia Edwards is a judge of the 2015 Invent It Challenge and she’s here to help YOU with your Invention Process and Challenge Entry.

Ms. Edwards is the Head of Education for the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and she develops programs such as Spark!Lab, an invention lab for children and families located at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

Ms. Edwards believes that everyone is inventive, and that each of us has the skills and abilities to solve problems, face challenges, and develop creative solutions!

Each week we’ll post tips for two of the Invention Steps from Ms. Edwards.

This Week’s Tips:

Think It – This is when you need to identify the problem you want to solve. (This is sometimes the hardest step in the invention process!) Look around you – what problems exist at home, at school, or in your neighborhood? Talk to your friends and parents to see what frustrates them, and look at your local newspaper to learn about the issues and problems that people in your community are talking about. The best invention ideas often address problems that affect lots of people.


One of last year’s winners identified the problem of ticks causing Lyme’s disease in dogs. The problem was personal since the student’s own dog got Lyme’s disease from a tick. Her entry told her story and gave background information about the disease and why it’s important for people to protect their dogs from this disease.

Explore It – If you’ve identified a problem that affects many people around you, you’re probably not the first inventor to try to solve it! Don’t let this discourage you. Instead, do some research to learn how others have solved the problem. What do you like about their solutions? What do you think you can improve? And most importantly, how can your invention be different? Many inventions build and improve on ones that have come before.


In the “Explore It’ step, this student explored past inventions for preventing and removing ticks from dogs. She points out two ways her invention can improve upon and be different than past inventions!

Got a question or comment for Ms. Edwards? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

One thought on “Tips from a Judge!”

  1. coco says:

    thank you for the tips ! it will help me with my invention but i have one question how do you mail it in or how do you send it thanks and please answer my question :)

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