The event description for Instant Invention has been difficult to write because the students are not meant to know what the challenge is until they arrive and begin working. It is a way to foster teamwork, to understand the design process, to make quick and meaningful decisions, and to create "Instant" plans that will maximize the team's score.
A general challenge might be as follows: Using the materials in this bag (3 wooden coffee stirrers, 6"x6" tin foil square, 1 sheet of 8.5"x11" paper, and 3 paper clips) make a boat that will float with as much sand in it as possible. Boats will be massed before competing, the amount of sand added will be massed. Scores are calculated by dividing the mass of sand by the boat's mass. High score wins. A sinking boat or capsizing boat is disqualified.
Other sample challenges:
Teams can best prepare by working together to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each team member (building, testing, brainstorming, revising, interpreting rules in order to achieve a maximum score) and then working on several challenges. Students should investigate the technology surrounding them in order to create a "library" of ideas to be implemented in new and creative ways. Think "MacGuyver".
2003 Olympiad Notes:
*Teams will consist of 2 team members only.
*Teams will be called in to begin this competition at 5 minute intervals.
They will then have 20 minutes to complete the challenge".
*Teams should concentrate on improving & refining their communication skills for this excercise.