BEND, Ore. - Central Oregon students have a chance to turn their observations of nature into useful inventions by participating in the 21st annual Inventerprise contest sponsored by Bend Research with support from Bend-La Pine Schools and Central Oregon Community College.
The focus of this year's science challenge for students in grades K-12 is on turning observations of plants, animals, and other living organisms into inventions that solve problems. Using their imaginations, students may come up with innovative designs and gadgets that draw inspiration from characteristics of spiders, slime mold, kelp, poison ivy, or any living thing.
For example, designers of the bullet trains in Japan were inspired by owl plumage when seeking ways to reduced air resistance noise, and by the aerodynamics of the kingfisher's beak when designing the train's nose.
Entries are due November 9 and winners will be announced by December 1. Entries will be judged on originality, usefulness, and development of concept.
Prizes will be awarded at all grade levels. The students submitting the top high school entries will split $1,800 cash. The student submitting the top middle-school entry will choose between an iPod, eBook reader, GoPro camera, tablet computer, mountain bike, or a season ski pass to Mount Bachelor. Student winners in grades kindergarten through eighth will receive specially designed T-shirts and be invited to a special Science Night presentation at Bend Research.
In addition, teachers in grades K-5 whose classes have greater than 50 percent participation will be eligible for the Tina McGeary Teacher Incentive Program. This program will distribute at least $2,000 in gift certificates among area teachers for classroom supplies or books. The program is named in memory of Tina McGeary, an Inventerprise contest founder and an unflagging advocate of the work that teachers do for the community.
The Inventerprise contest is open to all Central Oregon students in kindergarten through 12th grade, including home-schooled students. Last year more than 1,000 students entered, individually or in groups, and more than 120 won awards. Students may choose the medium that best conveys their ideas, including models, essays, movies, computer programs, and posters.
This year's contest asks students to be inspired by the characteristics of an organism to design a useful invention. Areas of focus may include shelter, transportation, defense, communication, and agriculture, but can encompass anything the students can imagine. As always, inventions must not defy the laws of nature.
Deliveries of entries will be accepted at the Bend Research fabrication facility at 63060 Corporate Place in Bend from 8 a.m. Wednesday, November 7, through 5 p.m. Friday, November 9.
Students may enter as individuals or, in Grades K-8, in groups of up to three people. To help better track entries, students may register their entries online this year through the Inventerprise website at http://inventerprise.bendresearch.com. This press release, contest flyers, and additional information can be also be downloaded from that site
The Inventerprise Contest began in 1992 as an outgrowth of a business-education partnership between Bend Research and the Bend-La Pine School District to promote science education and enrich students' educational experience. Eight years ago, Central Oregon Community College joined the effort by helping to plan and run the contest.
For more information regarding the Inventerprise 2012 contest or to request contest rules, please visit the website or call Annie Muske-Dukes-Driggs or Nate Glutting at Bend Research at 541-382-4100.