Young inventors’ chance to visit NASA

There’s a few days left for budding young inventors to enter Origin’s littleBIGidea competition and potentially win a trip to NASA in the USA.
Sep 2, 2019

There’s a few days left for budding young inventors to enter Origin’s littleBIGidea competition and potentially win a trip to NASA in the USA.

littleBIGidea invites Aussie kids in grades three to eight to enter their innovative ideas, entries close on Friday 13 September 2019 and hundreds of ideas have already been received.

New judge and 2018 NSW Young Australian of the Year, Macinley Butson is looking for ideas that demonstrate creative thinking and practicality.

“The littleBIGidea competition is a creative platform for kids to think big, share their ideas and consider how they could be brought to life. No matter how simple or ambitious, ideas should be explored, challenged and investigated. And that’s what I’m looking for – ideas that demonstrate some trial-and-error and practicality,” Macinley said.

Returning judge and leading biomedical engineer, Dr Jordan Nguyen said, “Kids have a remarkable way of finding solutions to problems that no one else can see. They look at the world differently to adults and it’s really exciting to see them uncover new ideas with imagination and curiosity – from the everyday task right through to global issues.”

Since launching in 2014, Origin’s littleBIGidea has received over 7,000 entries. Winning ideas in the past have been inspired by diverse subjects and causes, including healthcare, the community and environment.

The top 12 finalists will each receive $1,000 towards education within their chosen field and a one-on-one mentoring session designed by Engineers Without Borders Australia. Three national winners will each receive an all-expenses paid trip to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in the USA.

To enter the competition and for further information, visit Students need to describe their invention in 200 words or less and they can include an illustration or short video to support their submission.

How to get young minds thinking!
Dr Jordan Nguyen, Biomedical Engineer, Inventor and Judge of Origin’s littleBIGidea gives us his checklist for getting young brains thinking about inventions:

1.   Question young minds
When your child goes about their daily life, ask them to stop and think about what they’re doing, what they’re using and what they see – transport, school, play equipment, or things at home. Does it have to be like this? Is there a different way? What could you do to make it better? Remember, there are no silly questions – just practical, curious and creative ones.

2.   Tap into passions
Discover what excites your child and let them find what and who inspires them, as this can be a powerful starting point for ideas generation. Kids are more likely to pay attention to topics and activities they’re passionate about, so sit back and observe their interests and watch as their curiosity and creativity blossoms.

3.   Set challenges
Next time your child asks you a question about the world, set them a challenge and ask what they think the answer is. Encouraging children to think independently can help get their minds ticking and develop their problem-solving skills.

4.   Spark curiosity
Kids are naturally curious – but a little nudge can help boost their confidence and get them out of their comfort zone to try something new. Find an activity they’re already interested in and suggest they look a little deeper. If they love nature, ask them what they can do to help the environment. If they love sport, ask them how they could get more people to play.

5.   Empower the idea
Help fuel curiosity by encouraging your kids to read a range of books, talk to them about different places and help them learn about the world by visiting the zoo, museums, the observatory or planetarium. Watching documentaries and YouTube videos with your kids is also a great way to show them different places and help them unpick how things work.

6.   Get crafty and experiment!
Get your kids to tinker with things and experiment on their own – whether it’s fabric, glue, wire, electronics kits, science kits, puzzles or baking – get them to create something!

And you can join in or lend a hand for any tricky bits.

7.   Encouragement and support
Many great inventors failed before they succeeded! It’s important for kids to see mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow. If there’s something they think is too hard to do, encourage them to try a different approach. You can also round up family and friends to provide support, feedback and a different point-of-view. It’s important to nurture little and big ideas to help get them off the ground, and get your little inventors going back again and again to keep learning and innovating.