Becoming a Life-long Innovator


It may be hard to believe, but the conclusion of the 2018 Spark!Lab Dr. Inbae Yoon Invent It Challenge is approaching fast!  We are very excited to learn about your new inventions to help prepare for and address natural disasters. As you finalize your new inventions, I would like you to stop and appreciate how much you have learned and accomplished in such a short amount of time.  You have identified a problem, proposed a solution, built and tested a prototype, and tweaked it and…

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Crossing the Finish Line: Finalizing Your Submission

Hello future inventors!  My name is Jeff Brodie, and I am the Deputy Director of the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.  On behalf of my colleagues here at the Center, I want to congratulate everyone participating in the 2018 Spark!Lab Dr. InBae Yoon Invent It Challenge. We are excited to learn about your new inventions that will help solve problems related to natural disaster preparation and relief. As a historian, I study inventors and their work and share their stories…

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An Inventor’s Perspective on the Importance of Trying and Tweaking Your Invention


Tim Pula, the Interpretive Exhibit Coordinator at Smithsonian’s Spark!Lab offers his insights on how to successfully navigate the Try It and Tweak It steps of the Invent It process. Watch this video now, and inspire your students to improve their inventions by testing their prototype, gathering feedback, and then making improvements!

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Inventing for a Cause


According to the World Health Organization, natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, landslides, tsunamis, floods, and wildfires affect about 160 million people worldwide each year. In 2017, disasters caused $306 billion in damages in the United States alone, making it the most destructive and expensive year on record. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastated Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, while wildfires destroyed more than 15,000 acres of land in California. Around the world earthquakes struck China, Iran, and Mexico; floods came…

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Learn About Dr. InBae Yoon

On January 31, the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center and Cricket Media launched their 7th annual invention competition. Not only does it offer students the opportunity to develop important skills like problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration, this year the challenge also honors the legacy of an inspiring inventor. Dr. InBae Yoon (1936-2014) was a Korean American inventor who passionately believed—like we do—that everyone is inventive. His love of inventing sparked his lifelong commitment to drawing, tinkering, and prototyping his ideas, which resulted in over 200 US…

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Interview with Clara Mabour (Teacher, InvenTeam Grant Recipient)


Learn about the process of inventing by reading this fascinating transcript of our interview with Clara Mabour, a current teacher, and former InvenTeam grant recipient. What made you want to begin inventing? I have been interested in making and problem-solving as far back as I can remember. I started by inventing out of curiosity, and now I invent to solve problems that impact others. Early in my life, I invented games that my friends and I played at school, and I used my broken toys and scraps of…

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Meet Tricia Edwards and Get Started!

Hello, future inventors! My name is Tricia Edwards. I am the Head of Education at the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. This is a fancy way of saying that I get to work with kids like you and help them become inventors! Click here to watch my video introducing the Invent It Challenge. At the Lemelson Center we believe that everyone is inventive. We work hard to provide fun and meaningful ways for people of all ages—but especially kids—to identify…

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