Category Archives: Education

Forest Lakes Elementary Innovation Lesson

Many thanks to Ms. Pinney and her third graders that were excellent students today.  We discussed the evolution of the light bulb from incandescent, to florescent to LED.  We took infrared heat measurements of each type of bulb and compared the wattage consumed by each type of technology. 

We also discussed trademarks and how brands are used and protected by companies.  The students got an A+ on their test and received free pens from Kari McDermott. 

Teacher Curriculum for Innovation

The USF Young Innovator Program is pleased to present freely distributable curriculum for instruction in the field of innovation.  Click on the images below for document-size enlargements suitable for printing or you can download high-quality PDF versions below:

(Updated – Adobe PDF Versions available now.)

 Brands and trademarks

This worksheet demonstrates the strength of logos and brand names.  Children as young as Kindergarten should be able to determine the goods or services associated with each of these famous brands.


What makes a good trademark?

Why are some trademarks strong and others weak?  Students learn by easy to understand examples and then try their own hand in coming up with a creative and strong trademark for three different products.  Have the class vote on the best trademark.


Famous Inventors Quiz

Who invented the cotton gin?  The airplane?  The world-wide-web?  This is a fun and simple quiz that also comes with a teacher’s key.

IE_Curriculum_L1_Famous_Inventors FamousInventors_Key

Learn the Patent Process and New Spelling Words

How is an invention patented?  Learn fourteen (14) new spelling words in the process.


Invention Value

Typically valuable inventions are needs versus something that people merely want (discretionary).   This worksheet helps children understand this concept with fun and easy to absorb examples.


How to Present an Invention

How do you convey the value and advantages of an invention clearly?  This worksheet and example help student inventors organize their thoughts on paper.  Includes an example invention.


2015 Competition Entry Form now Available

The 2015 competition entry form is available online.  The competition is accepting applications from students K-8 between November 1, 2014 and February 1, 2015. 

Competed forms may be submitted three (3) ways:

  1. Email:
  2. Fax to 800-726-1491
  3. Mail to: USF Young Innovator Competition, 180 Pine Avenue North, Oldsmar, FL 34677

Timeline for Competition:

  • Top 50 entries selected Feb. 3, 2015.
  • Preliminary judging by the National Academy of Inventors on Feb. 4, 2015.
  • Finalist presentation workshop (top 10 selected finalists) on Saturday, February 7, 2015 at HSN Studios (St. Pete).
  • Finalist presentations  6:00 PM, February 11, 2015 at the University of South Florida Patel Center.

Over 500 Invention Entries Received

Entries were received from the following schools:

Academy at the Lakes Pasco
Bartles Middle School Hillsborough
Blank – Sarasota Sarasota
Cambridge Christian School Hillsborough
Canterbury School of Florida Pinellas
Carwise Middle School Pinellas
Center Academy Hillsborough
Colleen Bevis Elementary Hillsborough
Curlew Creek Elementary School Pinellas
Cypress Woods Pinellas
Electa Lee Middle School Manatee
Fishhawk Creek Elementary School Hillsborough
Franklin Middle Hillsborough
Franklin Middle Boys Prep Hillsborough
Freedom HIgh School  Hillsborough
Home School – Pinellas Pinellas
Home School (Polk) Polk
Imagine School Hillsborough
Kathleen Elementary School Polk
Kathleen Middle School Polk
Learning Gate Community School  Hillsborough
Lincoln Manatee
Lomax Elementary Magnet School Hillsborough
Mango Elementary Hillsborough
Martinez Middle School Hillsborough
McKeel Academy Central Polk
McKitrick Elementary School Hillsborough
Nativity Catholic School Hillsborough
Oak Grove Pinellas
Odessa Elementary School Pasco
Pine View Sarasota
Saint Paul’s School Pinellas
South McKeel Academy Sarasota
Spring Valley School Pinellas
Steinbrenner High School Hillsborough
Summerfield Crossings Elementary Hillsborough
Sunset Hills Elementary Pinellas
Tampa Bay Technical High School Hillsborough
Tarpon Springs Fundamental Elementary School Pinellas
Tomlin Middle School Hillsborough
Venice Christian School Sarasota
Walden Lake Elementary School Hillsborough
Wellspring Enrichment Program Hillsborough
Westchase Elementary School Hillsborough
Wilson Middle School Hillsborough

USF Crowns Top Young Inventors

2013 Young Innovator Champion Mica Jadick (center) poses with competition director Anton Hopen and competition founder Anna Hopen (right)Ten finalists from nearly 600 entries pitched their new inventions to a panel of judges but only one would be named USF’s top innovator.  This year the honor went to Mica Jadick for her cereal sifting device that filtered out the crumbs that make the last bowl of cereal unpalatable.   Second place went to George Seits for his French-fry condiment holder.  Third place went to Katie Warren for her Boo Boo Baboon which is a plush toy that holds a cold-pack around a child’s arm or leg to help with an injury.  The judges further awarded a special recognition to Jonathan Ullom for his device to safely clear clogs of grass from lawn mowers.

Principals, Teachers, Parents…..want to keep in touch with the competition?  Have friends, colleagues or family that may want to participate next year?  Please forward them this link to stay updated on the 6th Annual Competition for 2014.

IMG_0827Keely Karnes took home the Outback Top Trademark Award for HEAR-RINGS™ which is her brand for audio ear buds that integrate with earring jewelry.   MOSI’s president Wit Ostrenko awarded all finalists annual family memberships to Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry.

IMG_08342011 USF Young Innovator champion Marissa Streng received her utility patent award from USF President Genshaft.  Marissa has commercialized her dog drying invention which is currently for sale under the federally trademarked brand, Puff-N-Fluff

The ten finalists were:

  1. Cooper Tharrington Sound Asleep Clock
  2. George Seits Built-In French-Fry Condiment Holder SECOND PLACE
  3. Grace Larson Portable Hitching Post for Dogs
  4. Jonathan Ullom Mower Chute Clearer  SPECIAL RECOGNITION
  5. Katie Warren Boo Boo Baboon  THIRD PLACE
  6. Keeley Karnes Hear-rings
  7. Mica Jadick Cereal Container that Removes Crumbs  FIRST PLACE
  8. Nicholas Boyd Safe Teen Driver System
  9. Prerna Ravinder The Back Benefactor
  10. Stamatina Liristis Scratch O Matic

2013 Finalist Presentation Workshop

IMG_0733Prior to the annual live competition a workshop is conducted to prepare the children for presenting their inventions to the finalist judges.  Teaching the workshop this year were USF assistant professor Dr. Emily Ryalls and EASA Software CEO and 5-time finalist judge Dr. Sebastian Dewhurst

IMG_0744Dr. Ryalls advised finalists that being nervous was perfectly normal and actually gives speakers an edge with a rush of adrenaline.  Everyone has “butterflies” when they give a big presentation…the key is to get those butterflies to “fly in formation.”  Another key topic covered by Dr. Ryalls is how to organize their presentation into logical stages and keep things brief.

seb-workshop-2013Dr. Dewhurst gave the audience and acronym to remember: NBAC which stands for “needs, benefits, advantages and costs.”  Relaying each of these topics to a judge (or investor) conveys the value of the invention most efficiently.  Both presenters advised the finalists to hold back on revealing their invention until they’ve established the problem they seek to solve and build some anticipation for the solution.

All those attending noted the inventions and presentations were some of the best ever presented in the competition and there is great anticipation for Monday night’s event.