Where to Get Help Finding an Invention for a School Project

By Barbara Dunlap

  • Overview

    Finding an invention for a school project can be a daunting task. If you feel like you aren't capable of coming up with something new, you're not alone. However, there are many resources out there to help you. Whether you turn to a trusted teacher, your local librarian or even a website, there are ways to get your creative juices flowing and, perhaps, even help you become the world's next great inventor.
    • Step 1

      Before you go for help in finding an invention, decide what field interests you most. If you like bike riding, for instance, think about some common problems cyclists have. Solving one of those problems can be the basis of your invention. The subject matter should start with you, and then it's fine to get help with developing your idea and your project.
    • Step 2

      Find an expert in your chosen field to help you brainstorm and/or fine tune an invention idea. Depending on the nature of your plan, an expert can range from a professional engineer to an amateur tinkerer. If your invention is scientifically oriented, for instance, check in with a science teacher or contact your local science museum staff. On the other hand, if you're creating something electronic or robotic, you usually can find help at a high school robotics club or a locally-owned computer/electronics store. If you still don't know where to turn to find an expert in your field, ask your parents, teachers and school counselors for suggestions.

    • Step 3

      Head to the library. You'll find several books filled with general ideas such as "Prize-Winning Science Fair Projects for Curious Kids," "The Scientific American Book of Great Science Fair Projects" and "Science Fair Projects for Dummies." You also can find narrower topics such as "Science Fair Projects With Electricity & Electronics" and "Weather Science Fair Projects." The books may be shelved according to different subjects--your best bet is to explain your idea to the librarian who can show you various locations.
    • Step 4

      Look at school project websites if you have a field in mind but need help with your idea. The good ones are jam packed with suggestions according to category. For example, juilantrubin.com (see Resources below) offers topics, resources and sample projects. If you want ideas for a specific project, search specialty sites. For instance, if you're building a solar car, you can find help with tips and materials at sunwindsolar.com (see Resources below). If you want to make your own weather vane, search for those terms and you'll find a great site (see Resources below) with all kinds of weather inventions and ideas.
    • Step 5

      Once you've identified the problem you're going to solve with your invention, research existing items that also address the issue. (You can do this by asking your chosen experts or searching on the Internet.) You don't have to reinvent the wheel completely -- it's okay to get help by incorporating some technologies that already work. You'll also find out whether your idea has been implemented before.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Tip: Come up with an invention you're able to build or demonstrate in some way. You'll be frustrated if your idea far exceeds your skill level.

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