Argentine Invention Olympiad
This is not just an invention contest, nor an exhibition of inventions. It is an educational project launched by the Argentine Association of Inventors during the school year 1997-1998. Such an educational project is focused on the promotion of inventive thinking among youth. (Two categories: 8 to 14 and 15 to 20 years of age, respectively).
The competition consists of finding the solution to three real problems of technical nature with social implications, which have to be dealt with at the location of the competition in a maximum of four hours. In addition, a set of theoretical questions has to be answered on general subjects connected to the world of inventions.
During the first Invention Olympiad more than 1500 children participated nationwide in the local, regional, and final contest (80% boys and 20% girls). Since then, the event takes place every year, and the award ceremony is held on September 29, the Inventor’s Day in Argentina.
The breath of educational experience, whether in conceptual matters or in the course of classroom activities, enable the institutions , and also the motivators, coordinators and facilitators involved in the organization of the Invention Olympiad, to guarantee proven ability in subjects related to creativeness, inventive thinking and innovative educational undertakings.
The Rules of this educational project are available in English (5 pages).
The Operating Manual of the Invention Olympiad is an effective source of reference and inspiration, affording theoretical and practical guidance not only for the teachers but also for the participants and members of the judges panels. In it they will find the advice, suggestions, examples and recommendations that will make possible the applications in every educational establishment of basic and further training programs for all the participants. The English text of this document has 33 pages.
It is very probable that many teachers are assailed by doubts and questions when faced with subjects such as technology, science, inventions and innovations, not having the possibility of making conceptual distinctions or speculating on practical applications in the classroom.
The objectives and procedures of the Invention Olympiad to a large extent correspond, and are complementary, to those of the “Technology Classes” in many schools all over the world.
However, if we are to implement technology as more of a classroom activity, and also if we are to take part successfully in the Invention Olympiad, we have to reply clearly to questions such as:
– What is technology? What purpose does it serve?
– In what way is science different from technology?
– What is an invention? What purpose does it serve? In what way is it different from science and technology?
– Is it possible to invent in the classroom?
– How can inventive thought in children and young people be promoted?
These and many other questions are bound to come to the minds of teachers and participants who have not been given prior experience or training on the subjects concerned. If we fail to give clear and precise answers, it is highly possible that attempts to introduce technology and inventive thought as beneficial classroom activities will come to nothing.
The world of rapid change that we live in, and the daily challenges that mankind has to face and overcome, oblige us to take charge of motivating and training new generations. In order to do this, implement sound ethical commitment to the community, and to take a responsible attitude towards caring for our planet, we have to uphold the steadfast conviction that “a better world is possible” and that “where there is a problem, there is an opportunity”.