Center for Pre College Programs

Thomas Edison Invention Challenge

Event Application Invitation

The New Jersey Technology Education Association in cooperation with The Edison Innovation Foundation, PSEG & NJIT is proud to announce the Thomas Edison Invention Challenge. 

The Main Event

The event will take place in late spring at a venue to be announced.  High school and middle school students from teams across New Jersey will gather to display prototypes of inventions and innovations involving alternative forms of energy.  The day of the event will be a large scale, high profile event designed to showcase student inventiveness.  The day will include student presentations, guest speakers, an education fair and other educational activities.

Competitive teams may submit their designs in such typical categories as:

  • Energy Systems - for buildings, structures etc.
  • Applications - Heating, cooling, electricity, motive power
  • Toys / Games - Educational, entertaining, etc.
  • Novelties - Personal, gifts, home & garden, etc.

[This is not an exhaustive list of possible categories. Teams are free to propose any idea they wish]

The Goals of the Program

  1. Promote awareness of Thomas Edison
  2. Promote knowledge of alternative energies
  3. Encourage and celebrate design, creativity and ingenuity
  4. Connect New Jersey education with business and industry

Teacher Training

Teachers will be gathered and trained at a kickoff event to introduce you to the concept.  This event will take place on a weeknight around late January in the central area of the state.  At that time you will be trained in the essential content areas to ensure success in the competition.

Competition Requirements

Students in teams of NO MORE THAN FOUR may compete. The competition is to be entirely student designed and constructed while making use of teachers and mentors for guidance purposes only. Students must submit proposal documentation outlining plans and intended outcomes prior to the event for approval by the planning committee. This documentation will be provided to students in the form of an “Invention Notebook”. This notebook must be used to show documentation of research and solutions that they have considered. Notebooks will be available in electronic format for easy downloading and printing for various schools.

A prototype of their idea must be demonstrated at the Invention Challenge Event.  Students can assemble their models out of any material, but the event will encourage the use of recycled materials to minimize costs.

Students will demonstrate entrepreneurial skills on how to bring their idea to market.  The students must conduct market research to prove the validity of their idea. A presentation of their work will be a component of their interview.

Approximate Schedule of Events

Early November - Teacher Creativity Sessions @ Edison Laboratory

Late December - Invention Proposals Due

Late January - Kickoff Meeting at PSE&G Facility

Late March - Student Competition

Support Materials for Teams

You will be provided with a “start up kit” (over $200 in value) containing materials pertinent to your prototype.

Benefits to Students

  • Experience the true nature of seeing an idea through from concept to completion.
  • Learn about the emerging field of alterative energy and understand the impacts that Thomas Edison had on the technology of the future. 
  • Have the opportunity to work with mentors from industry for expert advice and exposure to career pathways. 

Awards will be given to students (in teams of up to 4) in several different categories including but not limited too:  Most Innovative, Best Marketing, Best Use of Materials, Best Documentation, Best All Around, Best Prototype.

Benefits to Teachers

  • Receive real world professional development experiences that will translate to their classrooms and improve their quality of instruction.
  • Honorariums will be offered to participating teacher to compensate them for the time that will be required outside of the normal school day.  The honorarium will be $250 per advisor for managing and guiding their team of up to four students.
  • Excellent exposure for their school and program.

Benefits to Supporters

  • Have a unique opportunity to work along side of students as they prepare their entries for the competition.
  • Have exposure at the event and in all press releases as supporters of education in innovation in our students. 
  • Observe promising student talent and School-to-work connections.
  • Observe how Technology Education and STEM concepts bring problem solving minded people into the workplace.
  • See new alterative energy concepts and their possible connections to industry.
  • Most importantly, participating sponsors will be able to have a direct impact on students and possibly change their lives forever.

Please let us know if you would like to be a part of this event.  Space is limited and schools will be selected by the planning committee based on the short application form that you can fill out by clicking on the "Register Now" link below.

Register Now

In order to apply, you must be a current professional member of NJTEA and a current teacher of technology education in New Jersey.

More information, schedules, documents and rubrics will be made available in the near future.