Bringing the Program to Your School

How to implement an Invention Convention in your school in Tennessee:

Implementing an Invention Convention with your students and/or in your school is an exciting endeavor.   With a few key people and a healthy dose of planning and organization a valuable and fun event can occur for everyone involved!

A brief outline for suggested steps are as follows:

  1. Prior planning:
    • Key People:
      • Teachers, enrichment leads, STEM coordinators, Teachers for the Gifted Programs or after-school coordinators – many people can play a role. Typically a single person can handle the local logistics for coordinating the program.
    • Students and Event Schedule:
      • Key people decide:
        • Grade levels to be involved
        • Time allotment (when/how much per day or week)
        • Date and location for invention convention at the school
        • Note the date when Regional or State Invention Convention is held so your school winners can participate leading to the National Invention Convention
      • Establish budget and secure funding:
        • While running an Invention Convention program at your school is not expensive, some funds are required. The average school could spend the following each year:
          • Teacher stipend (if required, school dependent)
          • Awards and incidentals for local school convention (approximately $25- $200 total)
          • Bus to transport winners and their families to the State-wide event held annually at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. (if required,  school dependent)
  2. Contact Tracey Huddleston: for additional information for the state competition.
  3. Hold a “Kick-Off Meeting” for all interested students
    • Get students excited and motivated to participate in invention convention. This is particularly important if you are running the invention convention program outside of your normal school curriculum.
    • Tell parents about your plans and solicit participation.
    • Post events on your school calendar.
    • When working with teachers and parents, it helpful to discuss benefits for student participation; such as application of basic skills and opportunity for integration of grade level standards with each invention.
  4. Instruction time — Mentor the students
    • Most of the inventing is done at home, or at least outside of the classroom. Use the time inside the classroom — generally about an hour a week — to mentor the students with their inventions. Ask parents and corporate sponsors to come and help too.
    • Time applied will vary according to grade level and knowledge base of students. Teachers will know best how to schedule and pace this time for students.
    • Typically allow 6-8 weeks overall with students on task. Some schools build this into their daily or weekly coursework during school; some make this an after-school or enrichment program.
  5. The Big Day:
    • Hold your own local Invention Convention. This could be just one school or combined with other schools in your area.
    • Many schools cohost the Science Fair and Invention Convention on the same day since many kids do one or the other.
    • Invite families and other classes to come in and view the displays.
    • Engage local businesses, civic organizations and other volunteers to come and judge the exhibits. Judge training is available upon request
    • Select the inventors to attend the State Invention Convention
    • The number of students/inventions permitted at the state competition can be found in the informational brochure. Please email for more information
  6. Register students for State Convention:
    • Informational brochures are mailed each October with information regarding how to participate in the annual Invention Convention at MTSU.
    • Select winners from state competition will be invited to participate in the National Invention Convention held annually in late spring. More information can be found on the STEMIE website:


“All Kids Are Inventors”