Challenge Overview

What is the Invent It Challenge?

The Invent It Challenge is an annual competition that inspires students around the world to unleash their inner inventor! Using Smithsonian’s Spark!Lab Invention Process, students brainstorm new inventions to solve global problems. For the 2017 Challenge, participants will focus their minds and talent on generating new solutions to environmental problems such as water scarcity, climate change, air pollution, water pollution, endangered species, invasive species and natural resource loss.

Who can join the Challenge?

Young inventors aged 5 to 21, either individually or on teams, compete in four age divisions: Ages 5-7 ● Ages 8 to 10 ● Ages 11 to 13 ● Ages 14 to 21

What types of entries are accepted?

We welcome any slide show or video presentation of an invention idea that solves an environmental problem, as well as the process used to develop it. Entry should document completion of the 7 steps of the invention process.

How will winners be selected?

A panel of Smithsonian and ePals judges review all entries using the evaluation criteria outlined in this scoring guide. While all entries are honored through publication in our online gallery, judges identify our winners by looking for young inventors that excel at explaining the problem, innovating on past ideas, sketching and prototyping their invention, testing and tweaking their idea and explaining how the invention solves an environmental problem in an innovative way.

As a culmination of the Challenge, each year an ‘ePals Choice Award’ winner is chosen for the highest honorary award by popular vote.

What are the prizes?

In addition to the awesome LEGO, Smithsonian Books and Cricket Magazine prizes, Nelson Mullins offers a patent consultation to winners, to help turn winning ideas into patented real-world solutions.