Capital Region Invention Convention 2018

What is Invention Convention 2018?

Invention Convention 2018 (IC 2018) is miSci’s annual regional invention competition for students in grades K through 8. Now in its 20th year, Invention Convention has engaged more than 16,000 students from the Capital Region in creative problem solving, including more than 1,100 in 2017! 

Interdisciplinary programs such as Invention Convention complement and enhance the school curriculum. You may have experienced the creative energy of our student inventors during previous competitions. If so, you know how much fun it is. If you haven’t participated, we invite you and your students to join in the fun! As an added benefit, Invention Convention is aligned with NYS Science Learning Standards K-2-ETS1 & 2, 3-5-ETS1 & 2, and MS-ETS1-1 & 2, which relate to Engineering Design.

IC 2018 is made possible through the volunteer and financial support of several community partners. A collaboration between miSci and GE Global Research, the contest is organized and run by volunteer scientists, engineers, patent attorneys, agents, and other professionals. 

New format for Invention Convention 2018: At IC 2018, students and their families will be invited to participate in exciting hands-on demonstrations, and hear from professionals in the field during a ceremony at miSci on May 24, 2018. As in the past, students also will be able to view one another’s inventions and will receive gifts commemorating their participation.    

Download the Invention Convention Flier for quick tips and how to enter:

  1. Submission Instructions
  2. Deadline and Dates
  3. Judging
  4. Design Steps
  5. Student Inventor Tips
  6. Resources
  7. Contacts

Participate in Invention Convention 2018

As an Educator

As a Student Inventor or Parent

As a Sponsor 

Submission Instructions

Please note, submissions must be made using the online application.  Students should fill out the online Student Invention Application with a parent or guardian.  The online application contains a total of three pages; students must complete each page before they may move on to the next page.  

The following description outlines what you will find on the Student Invention Application, including the information you will need to complete the form.

Page 1: Information needed:

    • Student’s (Inventor’s) name, grade, and home address
    • Parent/Guardian’s name, phone number, and email
    • School Name
    • Teacher’s Last Name & Email
    • Date of Invention (Date Invention Form is being completed)
    • Local Newspaper Name

Page 2:  Parent or Guardian will need to read and initial each Disclosure and Consent Release Form.

Page 3:  Invention Disclosure Form. Please print the form, instruct your student to fill out all fields and draw a sketch of their proposed invention.  Then scan the entire page upload with page 3. DO NOT write any names on this form. The inventions will remain anonymous during judging.

March 1, 2018 – Deadline for submitting forms online
March 2018 – 100 regional finalists are selected and students are notified
May 6 & 7, 2018 – Drop off models at miSci
May 6 – 24, 2018 – Models are displayed at miSci
May 24, 2018 (5:30 – 7:00 pm) – Invention Convention & Reception

Judging Process and Criteria

Judging Process 

To assure that all grades are represented in the finalist selection and museum exhibit, we have established three separate grade level divisions:

    • Edison Division (grades K-2)
    • Steinmetz Division (grades 3-5)
    • Coolidge Division (grades 6-8)

Entries in each division will be judged separately. Entries are reviewed by a panel of judges, which includes members of local patent law associations, scientists, educators and other patent professionals. All entries are given a reference number to ensure that inventions remain anonymous to Judges.

100 regional finalists will be selected to showcase their inventions in an exhibit at miSci.

The percentage of semi-finalist and finalist winners in each level will be equal to the percentage of entries in each category overall.

For example, if there are 250 entries submitted by students in the Edison Division, 500 entries submitted by students in the Steinmetz Division, and 250 entries submitted by students in the Coolidge Division then:

    • 25% of the semi-finalists/finalists will be in the Edison Division (K-2)
    • 50% of the semi-finalists/finalists will be in the Steinmetz Division (3-5)
    • 25% of the semi-finalists/finalists will be in the Coolidge Division (6-8)

Judging Criteria 

Print copies of the Judging Criteria to share with your inventors.

Judging criteria includes the following:

Overall Impression

  • Creativity… Does the invention show imaginative problem solving?
  • Originality… Does the invention provide a novel solution?
  • Complexity… Does the invention show significant depth and attention to detail?
  • Innovation… Is this a pioneering invention or a significant improvement?


  • Statement of problem… How well was the problem stated?
  • Statement of solution… How well does the solution address the problem statement?
  • Schematic Diagram… How effective was the diagram in illustrating the idea?

Invention Relevance

  • Impact… How significant is the problem being solved?
  • Practicality… Could this invention be made into a working device?
  • Contribution… Does the invention solve a problem of importance to others?

Design Steps

Invention Convention 2018 (IC 2018) is designed to encourage scientific problem-solving in students of all ages, as well as to promote creative thinking. Designing a new invention or a new process can be a valuable and enjoyable way to develop the skills of creative problem-solving that can be used for years to come.

To design a new invention, there are a few steps that you must follow. The first of these, which is usually the hardest, is to think of a problem that you wish to solve. Once you have decided on your problem, you must now come up with a solution. At this point you can draw a picture of your invention or an outline of your new process. 

Student Inventor Tips

Please remember that inventions must be original, or describe a significant improvement on an existing invention. Submissions for inventions that already exist will be automatically eliminated from the competition. If you are unsure if your invention already exists, please Google your idea and see if it shows up.

Please use the Student Invention Examples as a guide for your own disclosure form and as an example of the kind of invention that your child can submit.

The following is a list of steps for your student or child to follow when preparing for the IC 2018:

Step 1: The problem to be solved 

The first step in coming up with a new invention is to think of a problem that you wish to solve. Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to come up with a simple problem that can be solved by developing a new or improved object or tool.

Most new inventions are improvements on someone else’s idea. It makes something they already have work even better. It can also be an entirely new idea, one that nobody has ever thought of before. Remember that your invention doesn’t have to be a thing; it can also be a process or a better way of doing something. A good way to come up with an idea is to think of something that drives you crazy or something that you can never get quite right. For example, if you can never get a soda bottle open, then design a new bottle cap. You can also ask your parents, teachers and friends for ideas of things that they might need. Another way to think of an idea is to think of an object that you already have and to list all of the problems with it. 

Step 2: How to solve my problem 

Once you decide on a problem, think of a way to solve that problem. If you decide that you want to develop a way to keep ice cream cones from always dripping on your hands, then you have to think of a way to catch the melted ice cream or, instead, keep the ice cream cold enough so that it won’t melt. Remember to take into account just what it is that you’re going to make your product with and try to determine if your solution will be practical. Try to be as creative as you can with your ideas. You might come up with a great new idea! Draw a sketch of your product or an outline of your process making sure that everything in your design is exactly the way that you want it. 

Step 3: Entering my invention 

After deciding on a problem to solve and inventing a solution for that problem, now you must fill out your invention disclosure form and draw a sketch of your invention. Try to make your drawing as clear as possible, and the entire form as neat as you can. Presentation is an important part of your application since the judges will be more inclined to select an invention that is clear and understandable. Make sure that the invention disclosure form is signed by a parent or guardian. 

Step 4: Judging and awards 

The judging will begin March 2018. Each disclosure will be reviewed for originality and creativity, as well as practicality. Of all the inventions submitted, 100 will be selected as regional finalists and asked to make a model of their invention for display at miSci. 

Step 5: Making a Model 

To have their invention displayed during Invention Convention in May, finalists should create a model of their submission. It should be no larger than 1′ by 1′ by 1′. The model does not need to be a working, but should depict what was drawn in the original submission, as that is what judges selected and will expect to see in the finished product. 


GE Global Research Center
The Capital Region is proud to be the home of the GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, N.Y. This was the first industrial lab devoted to basic research in the United States. Many important inventions in lighting, power, transportation and health care were made at the laboratory, and this legacy of producing technology breakthroughs for the US and the world continues today. Additional information about GE inventions over its history can be found at

Classroom Visits
Teachers may request classroom visits by local patent professionals or practicing scientists/engineers. These volunteers from the community will share their perspective on careers that relate to invention, and will also explore the invention process with students. To request a school visit contact Lou Mazzone at the GE Global Research Center:

Lou Mazzone
GE Global Research
(518) 387-7283

Museum Programs
miSci offers several programs that are complementary to classroom study of inventions and the inventing process. Contact miSci for more information at 518.382.7890, ext. 228 or visit the miSci website to view a complete list of programs for Students and Teachers.


For Invention Convention Submissions and General Inquiries:

Shawna Reilly
15 Nott Terrace Heights
Schenectady, New York 12308
(518) 382-7890, ext. 252

For Classroom Visit Requests:

Lou Mazzone
GE Global Research
(518) 387-7283

For Sponsorship:

Carmel Patrick
Vice President of Development at miSci
15 Nott Terrace Heights
Schenectady, New York 12308
518.382.7890 ext. 250

Invention Convention is made possible through the volunteer and financial support of many community partners.

Our 2017 supporters included the following:

GE Global Research
Price Chopper / Market 32
Hoffman, Warnick LLC
McNamee, Lochner, Titus & Williams, P.C.
M&T Bank
Schmeiser, Olsen & Watts, LLP

Partner with us to inspire the next generation of inventors and scientists!

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