Middle School Students to Demonstrate Innovation Skills at State Competition

More than 100 middle school students from around the state will gather at the University of Maine on Saturday, May 17 to participate in the Maine Invention Convention state competition.

The statewide contest promotes problem solving and innovation by Maine students in grades five through eight. Throughout the school year, students work with their peers and teachers to identify and solve everyday problems they are passionate about by using Innovation Engineering, a systematic approach to innovation with fundamental concepts including methods for creating, communicating and commercializing meaningfully unique ideas.

“This program fosters and enhances the learning of our Maine students by creating a culture of innovation and problem solving. It supports the youth of today and the workforce of tomorrow by providing unique skills and opportunities to help students learn and grow,” says Jordan Nickerson, assistant community outreach coordinator at UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation.

After competing against their peers at the local level, top students from 15 schools, as well as students who are homeschooled, are invited to attend the state contest from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the New Balance Recreation Center on campus. Students will compete for top prizes in each grade level, as well as for 2014 State Champion, People’s Choice Award and 4-H Choice Award. The 4-H award will be judged and presented by students participating in 4-H@UMaine. Honorable mentions also will be chosen.

Every winner will receive a medallion made at the Advanced Manufacturing Center on campus. Savings bonds from Bangor Savings Bank will be given to the overall winner as well as the top winners in each grade.

The Maine Invention Convention competition is put on by the Foster Center with support from Bangor Savings Bank, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, University Credit Union, Cole Land Transportation Museum and Foster’s On the Run.

This is the second year the Foster Center is hosting the event, which has existed for more than 20 years and was previously run by middle school teachers.

Last year, Grace Perron from James F. Doughty School in Bangor, was selected the overall winner for her invention of Cremu, a homemade emu oil hand lotion. A total of 90 students representing 11 middle schools attended last year’s event.

More information on the Maine Invention Convention is online.