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6th Grade Students Invent and Prototype with BCIL for 2050 Science Project 
by Katie McKellar, BCIL Assistant Director 

At the end of last semester, the entire 6th Grade learned the steps of the invention and prototyping process in a BCIL project connected to their 2050 Science project. The 2050 project is a long-term research project focusing on environmental or societal challenges affecting specific local or global communities. Students began the process by brainstorming areas of interest with Dr. Gerrans in Science class. Popular topics included the protection of endangered species, ocean conservation, and sports injuries. From these broad topics, students identified a particular challenge based on research, ideated potential solutions, and created a rough prototype. The final day included a lesson on pitching ideas to an audience, and students created a written summary of their idea and a video pitch to submit to the BCIL Innovation Challenge. 

Students will continue to research their area of interest in Science this spring. Next steps with Dr. Gerrans include writing a full length research paper and developing an oral presentation to include a powerpoint or an actual prototype of an invention. Our hope is that students who advance far enough in this project can submit it to the California Invention Convention later this spring. 

Here are some student quotes reflecting on their experience with the project:

“My favorite part of the BCIL Invention Convention unit was definitely the part where we built our prototypes. I got to use my arts and crafts skills to build my prototype and it was very fun.” —Amber L. 

“I learned that there is a lot more than just making an idea and creating it and easily having it succeed. These take a lot of time with many steps such as brainstorming.” —Luke H. 

“I learned that patience is key. In the beginning, I was rushing through every step of the process. Once I slowed down, I got to really think through everything and ask myself, what will make my idea better?” —Alexa Y. 

“My favorite part of the invention convention was being able to learn about our topics, because they are important and we need to know about them. I learned all about the science of CTE in football players, and the risk of being injured.” —Jed S. 

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