Inventions have changed the course of history and how we relate to one another. Just think of where we would be without the computer chip, the automobile or the wheel. Preparing for a sixth grade invention convention can feel overwhelming, but identifying invention ideas is really a matter of noticing needs or problems and coming up with solutions.

Homework

Difficulties in getting homework done are almost inevitable. Just about all students have subjects they are good at and subjects they struggle with. What about an invention to help you in the school subject you struggle in? There may be a trick to doing a particular pre-algebra problem; you could come up with a gadget to help you and your classmates remember how to complete it. Maybe an invention would help students memorize musical notes for solos in band class. Start with your homework problem and identify your solution, and you have an invention.

Too Little Time

These days, sixth graders are busy with the pressures of classes, friends and responsibilities at home. Is there something you can invent to help save time? Maybe you can create a gadget that will blow hot air onto the dishes to help them dry more quickly. Or perhaps you can create a programmable timer that helps you organize your free time in 10- or 15-minute intervals. As another example, think of an invention to speed the process of folding laundry so you have more free time to spend with your friends.

Communication

It is normal for sixth graders to sometimes experience tension at home with their parents. Perhaps you can come up with an invention to help you communicate more fairly. A computer program might help parents and kids complete statements such as, "I need," "I feel" or "I would like." Appropriate responses to the statement or need could be programmed, along with reminders to remain civil, respectful and calm. A resource like this could help kids and parents to avoid conflict and enjoy more happy time together.

Something for Fido

Do your pets have any needs you can meet? Perhaps a long-haired dog would like an automatic fur brush that is mounted to the wall so every time he walks by it he can get a good brushing. Maybe your cat could use a small heater for her bed. Be sure to abide by any safety regulations or laws and check with your parents before deciding on your invention.