Friday, November 13, 2009

TOYchallenge 2010

Looking for a creative way to teach science to your group? How about TOYchallenge 2010? This toy design competition is for 5th to 8th graders in the U.S. and Canada, offered through Sally Ride Science. With an adult coach, each 3-6 member team of kids (half of the team must be female!) designs a new toy over the remainder of the school year. But you don't have be affiliated with a school to join in - homeschoolers, after-school clubs, and neighborhood groups are welcome.

Toys must be original and can not be built using pieces of existing toys. Each proposed toy must fit into one of three categories: Toys that Teach, Games for the Family, or Get Out and Play. After choosing your category, each team follows an engineering design process to prepare a written description and drawings of the proposed toy, due in the Preliminary Round Entry, which closes on February 12, 2010. Promising design teams are then invited to travel to compete in the Nationals (you can apply for travel assistance to off-set the cost, but all teams are expected to fundraise to offset their costs). Last year's competition was held in May at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia, but previous competitions have been held in other locations.

Check out last year's winners for inspiration. There's even a page of ideas to get you started. But there's only a week left to register, so be sure to sign up now! (Note: there is a $65 registration fee.)

Photo credit: Kok Leng Yeo through a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license via flickr.

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