Welcome to the Invent the Future Challenge — one of the region’s largest annual science, design, and invention challenges for middle schoolers!

The Challenge program develops innovative thinking, technical and social emotional skills, and an interest in STEM — inspiring and supporting educators along the way.

The Challenge is open to all middle school students and is designed to fit into your classroom curriculum or as an afterschool club. Teams have the option to participate in Invention Studio which is a series of six skill building workshops led by KID Museum educators and can complement teachers’ work with students. In addition, all MCPS schools have access to 10 hours of hands on, maker based curriculum created by KID Museum, as well as professional development. Please contact us if you are interested in accessing these components of the program.

What does this mean do for my students?
“The kids who have been through Invent the Future are more likely to take risks in the classroom. They see themselves as problem-solvers.”
– Stephanie Seo Gould, MCPS STEM teacher

Students who participate in the Challenge gain much more than technical skills. They learn to work collaboratively, be critical thinkers, and persist through failure. They learn that they can make an impact on the world around them.

What does the Challenge mean for me as an educator?
“This program has given me a new passion for teaching. I’ve done Invent the Future for three years, and now I can’t imagine teaching without having this experience as part of it.”
– Jo Belyea-Doerrman, MCPS STEM teacher

Teachers report that this program has reenergized them, opening up a new way to teach and inspire kids to learn.

Why is this important?
“The Invent the Future Challenge gives students an opportunity to experience something that they would not be able to experience in a regular classroom.”
– Adam Striegel, Media Services Specialist at Parkland Middle School

Middle school students are in a critical time for identity-formation and choices that affect higher education and career paths. The Challenge activates students’ technical skills in the context of creative problem solving and real-world challenges, empowering them with a sense of confidence and agency needed to apply these skills for future success.

Who participates?
Teams come from across the DC region, including public and private schools, as well as parent-led teams that can combine students from different schools. Last year, 189 teams representing 41 different middle schools participated in the Challenge.

How can KID Museum help me?
Over the past few years, the team at KID Museum has refined this program to include curriculum integration, a variety of resources, professional development, and guidance to give every educator the opportunity to successfully involve their students in this design challenge.

Let's get started

Step 1: Build your team(s). Each team is made up of 3-6 middle school students (6th – 8th grade) and needs an adult Team Coordinator. Coordinators can sponsor multiple teams.

Step 2: Teams choose an environmental problem to solve and design a prototype. (The prototype does not need to be fully functioning but must communicate their concept.)

Step 3: Create the final product. Don’t spend more than $60 on materials per team!

Step 4: Teams present their inventions at the Challenge Summit in May for a chance to win awards and prizes!

Resources from KID Museum

Click on the buttons below to access your Team Resources, including the Invent the Future Challenge Guide, information about professional development, and more.


Questions? Contact us at


Argyle Magnet
Benjamin Banneker
Briggs Chaney
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Francis Scott Key
Montgomery Village
Roberto W Clemente
Shady Grove
Silver Spring International
White Oak

The Invent the Future Challenge has gone virtual! Interested in participating? Let us know.