Spark!Lab 2020 Invent It Challenge Page
for Museums and Libraries

We’re excited you are joining the challenge. On this page, you’ll find everything you need to promote the challenge and integrate it into your programming!

Challenge Overview

For the past nine years, Cricket Media has partnered with Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation to bring the Invent It Challenge to students across the globe. The challenge is a free, STEM-focused contest open to students ages 5-18 that inspires them to solve real-world global issues through creativity and exploration.

Each year, we develop a theme related to an important global issue. By choosing themes that address significant global issues, the Invent It Challenge allows students to realize they can make an important difference in their world by applying their skills, knowledge, and creativity to come up with solutions to the challenges people around the world face daily. The 2020 theme focuses on what students can invent to help improve people’s access to healthy food. The fact that approximately 25% of the world’s 7.8 billion people struggle to access safe, nutritious food illustrates the importance and global nature of this issue.

To compete in the challenge, students must create a PowerPoint or video (less than 2GB) that documents their progress through the 7-Step Invention Process. Submissions are due by 11:59 pm (EST) on April 10th, 2020.

Helping Students Enter the Challenge

To help students get started, print and share the Entry Guide with them. The Entry guide includes everything they’ll need to generate ideas and record information they’ll need to document in their PowerPoint or video, including:

• a detailed description of the 7-Step Invention Process,
• a list of Topics and Resources to help them generate ideas,
• an Inventor’s Notebook to help them keep track of their progress through the seven steps,
• and a Rubric to help them self-assess.

When students are ready, they can use this PowerPoint Template to document their journey, or they can create their own presentations or videos.

Incorporating the Challenge into your Programming

Whether you are a library focusing on a STEM-related theme for a monthly book-series, or a museum expanding students’ options to engage with hands-on activities, the Invent It Challenge offers you a perfect opportunity to enrich your programming. Here are a few ways we think you could incorporate the challenge into what you’re already doing!

• Introduce students to the 7-Step Invention Process using this Overview Video and challenge them to think of how it can be applied to help create a solution to a wide variety of local, regional, or global issues.

• Set up a whiteboard and have students play “Pick Your Plate,” an interactive game from Smithsonian, to stimulate conversation around healthy food and how people across the globe might access it.

• Show this Topic Exploration Video to introduce possible ways to help solve the global issue of accessing healthy food, and then hold a question and answer session with students to get them thinking about what they could invent to address this issue.

Promoting the Challenge

Help introduce your audience to this amazing opportunity for their students to engage in a fun, inspiring hands-on STEM project! Here are a few simple ways for you to spread the word.

• Print this Educator Flyer (or send it digitally) to spread the word about the 2020 Invent It Challenge to your visitors, school groups, and teachers.

• Post this Marketing Image on your website and hyperlink it to the challenge website (

• Use this Social Media Guide – which has ready-made posts for Twitter and Facebook – to spread the word about the Challenge across your social media outlets and inform your audience of the wonderful opportunity the Challenge presents for students to use their creativity and knowledge of science to make a positive impact on the world around them.

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