Mission: Invent

STEM Division
Nethery Hall 135
4141 Administration Dr
(269) 471-3872

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Project Questions

We estimate the project will take at least 12 days of in-class time. This can be done over 12 weeks with 1 class period per week or faster if you meet more than once a week. Keep in mind that 12 days is only an estimate and your students may need extra time to finish.

We recommend you spend at least 1 day per week but 2 times may be better. If you want to go faster, you can meet more often and finish in less time.

Ideally, each team should have 3-4 students, although in some cases a team of 2 may be necessary. Team collaboration is an important part of the project so we do not want students working alone. Without team discussion and others to share the load, they may become overwhelmed and struggle to finish on time. Similarly, small groups are better than larger teams because each person will have more opportunity to contribute. 5 sudents or more is too many.

Yes. If all the team members are close in grade to each other, it is fine to mix them. The projects will be judged according to grade ranges, so it is best to group students the same. If that is not possible, get as close as you can and choose the grade range that best fits your students.

No. Many of the resources are suggested activities and supplemental material designed to support you in teaching the project. How you choose to introduce the core concepts is up to you. You should cover the topics listed in the Project Outline (available in the Teaching Guides section of the Teacher Resources) and your students will need to complete a Logbook and tri-fold board. The Logbook will guide the students through the project and is required for Mission: Invent. They should either fill out the provided workbook or use it as a template to record their work in a notebook.

Each team will need a notebook or printed Logbook (available in Teacher Resources) and one tri-fold presentation board. Every student will need a notebook or the printed Weekly Progress worksheet (available in Teacher Resources) to take personal notes throughout the project. When building the projects, you will need inexpensive materials such as cardboard, paper, tape, glue, etc. (raid the recycle bin or the craft closet). Students are welcome to use other materials for building the prototype as long as they meet the Project Guidelines.

This is something you will need to figure out for your situation, but you might be able to store them at the back of the classroom, in a cupboard, supply closet, or workshop. During our pilot program, we gave each team a box to keep their supplies in. Anything they were currently using to construct their invention had to stay in the box. This helped keep things neat inside the classroom.

The invention categories have two functions. First, they provide a starting point for students. They are categories of life and society where problems can be found and may help students identify a problem for their project. Second, the categories serve as a way to classify the projects and understand their purpose. The invention category will be asked on the Mission: Invent registration form, but the projects will not be judged differently based on their category. The category will simply be a useful label to help describe the project.

As explained in the Invention Categories document, students should select the category that best describes their problem. Some problems may fit under several categories while others don’t match any. We tried to generate a comprehensive list of categories, but if a problem does not fit cleanly under any category, choose the one that describes it the best.

Ideally, the students’ solution should be completely original. However, this is rarely the case. Many (if not most) of our modern conveniences build on past inventions. Without innovation, we never would have progressed from the telegraph to the telephone and eventually to our modern electronics and communication systems. Everything builds on what came before it. The goal for this project is to help students find that next level - to make something better than what currently exists. Rather than recreating something they’ve seen, they should look for new ways to solve the problem. Some parts of their invention will be based on current technology but there is always room for improvement and new ideas.

Students should be encouraged to think, design, and build as much of their project as possible. If outside assistance is necessary for dangerous or logistical tasks (ex. operating power tools, sourcing materials, etc.), parents, teachers, or other mentors can assist, but the students should still direct the process. Parents can also provide opportunities at their homes or local libraries for teams to work together. Encouragement is always needed. Younger students will likely need more guidance but you should still let them do as much as they can. If students use outside assistance, they should give credit in their logbook.

Some struggling is good with a project like this. It encourages perseverance and develops problem-solving skills. However, sometimes students are overly ambitious. This is commendable but if things don’t work out, they may feel overwhelmed. Talk with your students and look for ways to scale their project back. Help them narrow their focus by simplifying the problem/solution or only focusing on part of it. They can extend the project later if they have time. If the students are struggling because their solution isn’t working, remind them that’s ok. When things don’t go as planned, they haven’t failed; they’ve simply learned what doesn’t work. Encourage them to look for things to improve, or if all else fails, try a different solution.

One way to give your students more time is to let them work on it in-between classes. This is not a replacement for in-class time, but if they finish something else early, they may be able to do something on their project. Also, by allowing them to take the initiative, you are helping them take ownership of their education.

Finding time in-class is challenging, but it allows students to work with their teammates and get help when needed. When students work alone, they do not benefit from the teamwork component. If an entire team arranges to meet outside of school and is able to focus and work on their project without teacher supervision, this could be a good way for them to gain extra time. However, if the students struggle with initiative and staying focused, this may not work. A lot will depend on the maturity of your students. If you do let students work outside of class, they should still be given time to ask questions and check in with the teacher to ensure they meet the project requirements and finish on time. This is not a replacement for in-class time, but for older students especially, it may allow them to do more or finish faster. It would also help them take ownership in the project and make it their own.

Absolutely! At the K-2 level, we have adapted the group project into a whole-class option where the entire class works on the same project. The requirements are somewhat scaled back and rely on class engagement rather than small groups. If you do choose this option, be aware that the class project is not eligible to enter the Mission: Invent invention fair, but it is a good introduction to engineering and prepares students to participate in the future. If you would like to try group projects instead, you can choose the small-group option, which is eligible to enter Mission: Invent.

The short answer is no. We have posted our project resources for you to use freely. However, Mission: Invent connects students from across North America. It is a way to bring people together to celebrate creative excellence and problem solving. If your students know they are taking part in something bigger and have a goal to strive for, they will be more motivated and encouraged to push on, even when it gets difficult.

Yes. This project already includes aspects of Science, English/Language Arts, communication skills, and a Biblical component. Math can be integrated if you require your students to keep and show data from their tests. Measurements are often needed when building, testing, and revising the prototype. You could also add a writing assignment for their display board.

Here are several ways this interdisciplinary project can be done at the high school level.

  • One or more STEM teachers can integrate the project into their class time one day a week.
  • The project can be taught as a quarter/semester long elective class.
  • The project can be done as an extracurricular activity or club that meets in the evening or on the weekend.

Yes. Inventions take time to fully develop. The first year, your students should go all the way through the engineering process as instructed and present what they accomplish. Next year, if they want to keep working on it, they can do so. They won’t need to start from scratch, but they can add to what they did previously by improving their prototype or making a better one. All of these changes should be documented and added to their existing logbook. Then they can resubmit their invention to the invention fair and present it again.

The students must keep a journal/notebook (logbook) of their ideas, including dates. This documentation is necessary for future patent application opportunities.


Invention Fair Questions

This program is open to all Adventist K-12 students. Schools from across North America are invited to participate. Students will create projects in teams and be judged at a school invention fair. Homeschool students are welcome to participate but must form their own teams. Homeschoolers must participate at a local Adventist school's invention fair. The top inventions from each school are then eligible to enter the NAD-wide invention fair, Mission: Invent, hosted at Andrews University in Berrien Springs Michigan.

Pre-register your class or school by January 31, 2023. Host an invention fair at your school in the spring of 2023, and register your winning teams by June 9, 2023 to attend Mission: Invent.

If only one class is participating in Mission: Invent, then absolutely! If there are multiple classes in the same school participating, you should organize a school invention fair for the grades that participated. Teams will be judged within their grade ranges which makes it easy to scale the invention fair from the entire school all the way down to a single classroom.

Judges should be chosen from the community (industry professionals, local businessmen, politicians, community members, church members, etc.). The judges should not be teachers at the school or be related to the students.

The school invention fair is an opportunity to showcase the hard work and ingenuity of your students. You can invite parents, church members, neighbors, community members, professionals, businessmen, and anyone else who might be interested. This is also a great opportunity to promote your school in the community and build partnerships, so don’t be afraid to reach out to community leaders and media outlets.

No. Each team will enter the invention fair (school fair and Mission: Invent) in their appropriate grade range. The teams will be judged and winners will be announced from each category.

If you teach a multi-grade class, choose the grade range that best fits your students. For example, if you teach grades 5-6, you could participate in grades 3-5 or in 6-8. Use the resource materials (logbook, rubrics, etc.) for the grade range you chose and select the same range when registering for Mission: Invent.

If you teach a small class with a wide range of grades, group the students as you see fit. Use the resource materials (logbook, rubrics, etc.) that best match each group or use the same for everyone. For the school/classroom invention fair, judge the entire class together. When registering the winning team(s) for Mission: Invent, select the grade range (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12) that most closely matches the students on the team.

Mission: Invent will remain at Andrews at least through 2023. After that we hope to rotate to different Adventist colleges and universities each year. Details will be decided at a later date.

It is the family's responsibility to arrange travel to and from Andrews University.

Participants will need to arrange their own transportation to and from Andrews University. Once they arrive, they will receive two complimentary nights stay at a hotel (the night before and the night of the event). Meals for the entire family will be provided all day during the event and breakfast the next morning.


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