Your environment. Your invention. Your future.

People have been trying to help the environment for decades. Now, it’s your turn. Form a team of your peers and tackle one of the biggest issues of today, for a better tomorrow…

Challenge Question

Think of an environmental problem, big or small, that needs to be addressed. Now, think of a solution to that problem; an invention that would address that problem. Use your imagination to push beyond today’s limits to invent the future, and protect the planet.

If you accept this challenge, your team must not only dream up an invention, but also design and prototype that invention. Use engineering, coding, and design techniques to turn your ideas into something tangible. High-tech or low-tech, mechanical or digital… What will you make to protect the planet? The future is up to you.

Challenge Timeline

  • Registration – November 1 – February 15, 2018
  • Design & Build – November 2017 – May 2018
  • Invention Basecamp (optional) – starting December 2017
  • Invent the Future Day (optional) – January 28, 2018
  • Innovation Exchange (optional) – February 9, March 16, April 13
  • Presentations at Challenge Summit – May 20, 2018

We’re looking for adult/corporate volunteers for Invent the Future Day, Innovation Exchanges and the Challenge Summit. Contact us to learn more.

The Invent the Future Challenge was made possible by our groundbreaking partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools.


Prepare for the Challenge with Invention Basecamp workshops at KID Museum.
Attend one or attend them all. (Invention Basecamp is optional for Challenge participants.)

Design & Engineering

Learn about the engineering process and develop a variety of essential design skills. Using industry-level materials and equipment, take your ideas from concept to physical object.

Electronics & Coding

Get an introduction to electronics and computer programming with Arduino. Use written code to instruct your Arduino to read inputs and generate outputs, learning the foundations of programming.

Workshops Available

Intro to Design and Woodshop
Power Tools and Fabrication
3D Design


Workshops Available

Electronics and Intro to Arduino
Arduino Outputs
Arduino Inputs



Form a team of 3-6 middle school students (6th – 8th grade) and one adult coordinator (18 years+).

Make a physical representation of your invention; it does not need to be fully functioning, but it needs to be something tangible! 

Spend no more than $60 on materials for your invention. Teams can use a Challenge Starter Kit (Arduino and associated parts) for $30.

Present your inventions at the Challenge Summit in May for a chance to win prizes (see recognition categories below). For the complete rubric, click here.

Markers of Success

At the Challenge Summit, teams will be recognized in each of the following categories: Originality, Team Collaboration, Design Process, Potential Impact, Presentation.



The team explores new ideas and approaches to protecting the planet and applies these ideas in innovative ways.

Team Collaboration

Team Collaboration

The team works through the Challenge process as a group, working together and using the talents and abilities of each team member.

Design Process

Design Process

The team uses an iterative design process, with a cycle of prototyping, testing, analyzing and refining.

Potential Impact

Potential Impact

The team’s project and ideas have the ability to make an impact not only on their surrounding environment but also on a larger scale.



The team is able to effectively and creatively communicate their invention and the ideas around it.


Looking for some inspiration to help you get started? Here are a few projects that we hope will spark new ideas.
Remember the Challenge asks for prototypes, not necessarily full-sized or fully functioning inventions.

Energy-Saving Streetlight

Energy-Efficient Bottle Car

Trash Collecting Drone


The Invent the Future Challenge Summit showcases the inspiring work of middle schoolers across the region. At the Summit, student teams present their prototyped inventions to a panel of industry experts.

The general public is invited to attend and …
– submit a vote for the Audience Choice Award.
– watch our panel of experts deliberate and recognize teams.
– meet the next generation of innovators!

98 teams participated in the first-ever Challenge Summit on May 20, 2018. Click below for highlights, and stay tuned for the 2019 Summit!




Guy Brandenburg, Math Teacher | Stephanie Flack, Bernuth & Williamson | Alex Gorbachev, Intelligent Systems Services Inc. | Kim Horner, DayBlink Consulting | Larissa Johnson, Department of Environmental Protection | David E. Kanter, Ph.D., Calvert Education | Colleen Kerins, Clark Construction | Lee E. Manfred, Accenture, LLP | Ari Mindell, University of Maryland | Ian Moise, Catholic Relief Services | Daniela Moreira, Student | David Swearingen, Whitman Robotics | Scott Tjaden, Pepco | Greg Vallach, Accenture Consulting | Katie Wilson, Clark Construction