We are living in one of the most challenging and innovative times in history!  This is YOUR opportunity to make a difference. Here is a guide to help you succeed with your very own invention.

The Thomas A. Edison Festival of Light Regional Inventors Fair

 presented by SONY Electronics
  Florida Gulf Coast Hub of the
Henry Ford Invention Convention Worldwide

“If it is to be,
it is up to me!”

Write these 10 two letter words down & post it where you can see it every day!


The Henry Ford Invention Convention Worldwide     National Program provides the following helpful rubric.


…a problem is when you brainstorm and use research to discover problems and who might have these problems. You might uncover these problems at home, at your school, with your sports or games, listening to the news or somewhere else entirely.


a problem is when you know what is causing the problem and exactly what you want to happen when the problem is solved. The better you understand the problem, the better your solution will be.


…means thinking about the problem, brainstorming and researching different ideas and options to solve the problem.


…is when you decide what your invention solution will be made of, what it will look like and how it will work.


…is when you assemble your invention together based on your solution design using the materials and the process you have decided to use.


When testing your solution, you will find what works and what doesn’t. You will modify or change your design, then build in those new changes, and test the changes. The testing also includes an analysis of the Pros and Cons of the invention, its impact on society and the environment, its marketability and social value. You keep repeating this process until your invention or prototype works and works well.


…is when you explain the problem and your research, how your invention solution solves the problem, who might use your invention, your process in creating this invention, and how you might make it even better.


If you could make a difference, what problems are important to you?

Is there a way to ‘generate’ ideas? YES!  Pay attention to . . . .

  • . . . unexpected events and how can you make a difference! (Pollution)
  • . . . things that go right in nature: Can you mimic it? (Velcro®)
  • . . . things that go wrong in nature: Can you help prepare? (Natural disasters)
  • . . . something that can help people to obey laws or regulations! (Traffic signs)
  • . . . something needed by an age group! (Demographics)
  • . . . exploration (Deep sea, space travel and habitation)
  • . . . catch a new technology wave and ride it!  (see )
  • . . . mistakes that appear to have benefits (Post It® Notes)
  • . . . math that describes a particular process and purpose  (BarCode)

Did you know?  Everything that is not natural has been created by the human mind!  Stop and think about this.  Look around you. Every original human made object or unnatural method was invented!  This includes the structure you live in, work in, study in; objects you can travel in and over,  including space vehicles;  food recipes; sports; creative and expressive arts including music and musical instruments; forms of government and politics; medical equipment and procedures; entertainment; literature; computers, internet, blockchain; algorithms, currencies, energy collection and storage . . . everything that is not naturally occurring!

What Steps Can You Take to Prove ORIGINALITY?

Original means no one has ever made this invention publicly known.

Patent Offices and internet patent data bases provide registered inventions. Not all inventions are registered! Once your idea is made public, you have a limited time to claim it as your personal property. 

Important: Review the DISCLAIMER,Disclaimer,-Search 

If you believe your idea is marketable or you have an unnatural occurring method previously unknown and wish to claim it as your ‘intellectual property’ you should consider the benefits and disadvantages of a provisional patent application for temporary 12 month protection and/or a non-provisional patent for up to 20 years of intellectual property protection (IPP). 

Learn about these and other forms of IPP (eg. Trademarks, Copyrights).

**** (See or ) ****

Designing, Building, Testing, & Refining: “Engineering your invention”


Drawings; Material selections; Determine how to build it; Test it: Record problems; Make improvements in function and design.  Go for IMPACT!

What makes for a Great Logbook

  • Thorough documentation verified by witnesses
  • Required signatures of teacher for approval of idea verifying it is useful, safe, and meaningful, plus proper supervision to be accounted for when working with equipment or materials that could pose a physical hazard.  Science Fair Safety Guidelines are in effect for all research associated hazards. (Refer to ISEF guidelines.)
  • Parent/Guardian signature(s) on the Permission Form located at the back of the logbook.
  • New for 2022   
    • A student may use the Edison Fair Logbooks, the HF ICW logbook or any affiliate logbook. (For espanol logbooks: see the Connecticut Invention Convention.) 
    • All grades: clearly distinguish all student entries in logbook from the standard information or questions provided.  
    • Students in 4th through 12th grades may create their final logbook without including teaching guides or questions.  
    • Put yourself in a judge’s position. Make your logbook judge friendly!
      Arrange by sections that follow the Invention Logbook Criteria as follows:
      • Identifying & Understanding (recognizing problems)
      • Ideating (ideas to solve problems)
      • Originality
      • Designing, building, testing, and refining
      • Value proposition
      • Market potential
      • Communication  planning
      • Entrepreneurial planning
      • Scientific Research – if this is a co-registered project, your science research can be the last section of the logbook. Be sure to make reference to it in an earlier logbook section.(eg. Originality or Designing) 
    • Required for 2022: Abstract/Summary –a description or summarization of the essential points of the invention. 
      • Make this the first page of the logbook to serve as an introduction. 
      • Submit a separate Abstract/Summary as a zFairs Paperwork file.


Describe the beneficial impacts on people (social), the environment, and business (entrepreneurial).

Detrimental impacts:  Are there possible concerns for misuse or injury while it is being used that the inventor could be accused of (Liability)? What about pollution?



Keep legible, detailed records of your all your efforts in your log book . . . including successes AND failures. This is a normal part of getting it right.


Participants will have the choice of a physical and/or a virtual project display. Each student folder will have a Google Classroom File to download a photo of your physical display or create a virtual digital display board.  Please review the pros and cons of each choice.

  • Option One: Physical display board


Hands on experience; Available to use as a backdrop for your 4 to 6 minute video presentation; A photo of your display can be uploaded to the Display Board online file.


You are responsible for materials such as your tri-fold display board, paper, adhesives, printing costs, storing, and moving.  Guidelines are provided below for creating physical display board. Your display board may not be as easy to read from a photo or if you use it in your video presentation.

  • Optional Two: Digital display board


No cost, no waste, can modify, easy to organize and read online


No physical project display board in your background during your video presentation

  • Option Three

You can do both if you are really motivated. 

Dimensions of a physical display

(Standard height is 36 inches but may be as high as 72 inches. All displays must be stable and not subject to falling over.)


  • Take time to clearly demonstrate or discuss this in detail during your presentation!!! 
  • If too large, provide a smaller model of your invention. If very small, you can show an enlarged model or illustration to clearly share details with judges.
  • Access to Electrical Outlet:
    • not an option for live ‘person to person’ judging
    • the use of electrical equipment is acceptable for virtual competition


  • How to dress for your video? School clothes are recommended at a minimum. Optionally, dress clothes are acceptable.
  • The inventor(s) should be the only person(s) speaking. Avoid a Question and Answer Session!  
    • Exception: K-3 grades if necessary to assist the younger participants. If the student is willing, try without assistance even if the video is short (two minutes or less).   
    • In filming the video, make it judge friendly!  The inventor can use:
      • a physical display and clearly focus in on sections as the discussion progresses. If a judge cannot clearly see what is displayed, think twice about using this approach.
      • the aid of a computer or TV screen to present display board information. This is not to replace the inventor’s presence or delivery in the video but to help clarify information and guide the discussion. 
  • The video is to be nonprofessional and unedited for fairness to everyone (national guidelines).

The Next Level (optional):  Becoming an Entrepreneur

Participants interested in learning more about selling, licensing, or creating a business based on their intellectual property can benefit by researching the business and professional links noted in the Helpful Resource List.  This list of resources is by no means complete. It contains key resources and will help get you started in your ‘Invention to Entrepreneur’ journey.    Check for a free One Page Business Plan (be careful not to pay for other sources unless you choose to). 

Helpful resources

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