Thursday, September 29, 2016

Young Innovator's Contest

Young Innovator’s Contest
Lesson Plan for Grade 5
Prepared by Mrs. Davis

Being in “gig city” and having an innovation district in Chattanooga, there is a big push for technology in our city. As part of that our city often looks for ways to recognized innovation in it’s inhabitants. The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce created a Young Innovator’s Award program as part of it’s upcoming Spirit Of Innovation event. The criteria were shared with our school and can be found here:

ISTE Student Standard #4  - Innovative Designer- Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions.
ISTE Student Standard #5 - Computational Thinker- Students develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods to develop and test solutions.
ISTE Student Standard #6 - Creative Communicator- Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.


  1. Students will learn what it means to be an innovator
  2. Student will use mind mapping/graphic organizer to brainstorm ideas in their life that are problems that need to be solved
  3. Students will creatively come up with a solution to a real world issue and process how to solve the issue
  4. Students will “pitch” their innovation to their teachers “Shark Tank” style and grow their communication skills.
  5. 2 Students from each fifth grade class will then pitch their innovation to school educators. One student will then be chosen to be nominated by our school for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce’s Young Innovator Award program.


  • Creative minds
  • Materials to make prototype if they want to show something during their pitch
  • Paper and pencil for graphic organizing or use Show Me app on iPad to map it.


Students are to understand that their innovation is being measured by the following criteria:
Stimulating:  Innovation offers measureable impact on the community
Tangible:  Innovation demonstrates discernable value
Exposure:  Innovation promotes STEM knowledge and related field growth
Awesome:  Innovation has a wow factor
Moving:  Innovation shows leadership, initiative and potential for further gains


Meeting 1: Instructor will share the following slideshow presentation with students: and discuss some different innovations that we are all aware of like lint brushes, taco stand holders, and the device that makes all the toothpaste come out of the tube.
Students then start thinking about their days from the moment they wake up until they go to sleep and think of problems they see that need to be solved. Students then mind map that problem with possible solutions.
Meeting 2: Students run with these ideas and create a pitch for their innovation to their teachers. They may also create a simple prototype of the product to share as they pitch. They then pitch the idea to the teacher. The teachers then choose 2 students from each class to pitch to more administrative educators in your system.
Meeting 3: The representatives pitch their innovation “shark tank” style to a body of educators in a setting that seems formal. They leave and educators choose one person to move on.
Meeting 4: In front of whole grade level all 6 innovators are acknowledged for their ideas with a gift card and the grand winner from the school is then named.

Lesson recap written by Mrs. Davis:
This has by far has been my favorite lesson this year! It is partially because I like to think of myself as an innovator but also because I don't think we find enough ways in the day to day schooling for our students to show their creativity. I believe innovation happens when need intersects with passion in a creative mind. Innovative thinking doesn't come natural for all people. I explained it takes risks to thinking like an innovator because every new idea has the chance of not working.

I was blown away with these students's ideas. They were as varied as the day is long! It also made me excited to see it wasn't the "same old students" that always excel at things that necessarily did the best with this lesson plan. Any time I see that I get excited as an educator because I know we are tapping into the gifts and talents and the uniqueness of our students. We are showing them that we recognize that in education "one size does not fit all." I can't wait to do this year after year.
I am about to head to the fifth grade student body and let a boy named Blake know that his idea for a telescoping hydraulic system that makes watching your ipad in bed easier is the winner. His written pitch said  "Let’s say that you want to watch your pad in bed for Youtube or Netflix, well this will let you! It comes down from the ceiling from a hydraulic system that you control from the app,or a remote, your choice. But how does it stay? Well you use nails and it even adjusts to the smallest of ipads like the mini ipad. So what are you waiting for? Let’s see this invention!"
As the adults in the boardroom heard this we couldn't help but also think of ways this could be used for adaptive technology for individuals with special needs. What a great idea!

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