STEM Fair Student Project Path B and Path C Instructions

Path B: research and model an existing invention


Path C: make your own invention (For 3rd - 5th Grade ONLY)

We are open to most new ideas for projects. Students are encouraged to be creative and original with ideas. These ideas could be for toys and games, or new items to help parents with babies or pets. It would also be great to research inventions that have changed our daily lives, like telephones and electronic cars. All these ideas should focus on what problems they are trying to solve, and the inventions should be something you could realistically create or build a model of. Planning and time management are important proactive skills to learn and are a big part of this activity.

*PARENTS, please help your child in planning and shopping for materials, but portions of building their invention or model would be useful for them to do themselves. Please keep in mind that if the model or inventions does not work as expected, or if it only bears a faint resemblance to their original drawing or diagram, that is OK!  That is all part of the engineering process, and things do not always turn out perfectly according to original plans.

Both Path B and Path C can be displayed following the suggested pattern below.

For both Path B and Path C, we suggest that students design their inventions following steps listed below. The steps in each path have been laid out with the Engineering Design Process in Mind. For example, Step one in each path is the “Ask” step. Step two is the “Imagine” step and so on. 

  • Step 1: ASK: Write or type a paragraph describing your invention. Be specific! Guiding questions:
    • What is your invention called?
    • What problem does it solve?
    • What resources are available to help you?
    • Why did you come up with your idea for this invention?
    • Is it practical or just for fun? If it is practical, how is it useful?
    • Who will use your invention?
  • Step 2: Imagine: Write or type a paragraph including the following information:
    • What are some other possible ways to solve the problem your invention will solve?
    • What inventions already exist that are like the one you have chosen?
    • How will your invention be better or different than what already exists? Be specific.
  • Step 3: Plan
    • Design your invention and draw it in as much detail as possible.
    • Label your diagram.
    • Decide on a budget. Plan what materials you will need.
    • Make a list and shop for or collect materials.
  • Step 4: Create
    • Following your diagram, assemble your invention or model of your invention. If possible, test your invention.
  • Step 5: Improve and Reflect (2 Paragraphs):
    • (Improve) Write or type a paragraph describing what happened.
      • Did your invention come out looking like what you planned? Why or why not?
      • At any point did you have to start over? Why? How many times did you have to go back to the drawing board?
      • How could you make your invention better?
    • (Reflect) Write or type a paragraph explaining your answers to these questions:
      • Did your invention solve the problem you set out to solve?
      • Who will use it?
      • Do you plan to sell it? How much will you charge?
  • Step 6: Final Display (due date: April 26th)
    • In the drawing below, you will see the parts that are required for your invention project trifold display.
    • Part of your grade depends on neatness, thoroughness and organization of your display.
    • Please note that typing is not necessary but neat handwriting is a MUST!
    • You will need to purchase or make a tri-fold display board.


Display Tips:

All projects should include a display board with: title, student name(s), teacher name and grade.

  • For security reasons, valuable property including computers will NOT be allowed and cannot be the format for display. Projects are not monitored at all times.
  • Do NOT display fragile or valuable equipment that could get lost, stolen, or damaged. If you do NOT want people to touch your project, please include a “Do Not Touch” sign or use a sealed container.
  • Live animals will not be allowed on display at school. Instead, share what was learned through photos or videos, and of course, projects harmful to animals are prohibited.
  • Entries can not involve the use of toxic, hazardous or flammable materials.
  • Keep projects within the space of a standard tri-fold board as there will be many projects to display.
  • Parents – please watch small children while touring the fair so they do not damage the displays.

Please contact Juliet Gong/Laura Ni via if you have any questions regarding the project.


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