Little Inventors

The United Nations is launching the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in 2021. We are inviting the ingenious children of Canada to think up and draw invention ideas to protect the oceans. Get involved now!

The oceans cover more than 70% of our planet, and they are essential to all life on Earth. But overpopulation and industrialization have taken their toll.

Starting now, we can start building a better future for our oceans, with science, invention and innovation at the heart of it all. The more we understand our oceans, the better we can learn to look after them and get them back to health.

A selection of invention ideas will be chosen to be made real to be showcased during Science Odyssey in 2021.

A few others will have the wonderful opportunity to submit their ideas to the Canadian Science Fair Journal and be published!

But that’s not all! We will also choose one invention a month to receive a copy of the Little Inventors Handbook!

The challenge is supported by three FREE resource packs:

  • The Mission Protect our oceans challenge pack(why the oceans matter, sea life and habitats, threats and challenges to ocean health)
  • A world of pollution extension pack (plastic and wider pollution issues, the carbon cycle, acidification and deoxygenation)
  • Climate power extension pack (the water cycle, the role of oceans in the weather, climate change issues) – Available by June 8, 2020, World Oceans Day, in time for our next school year!

The resources have been designed to support scaffolded learning for students age 5 to 15 years old to stretch their imagination and creativity! Each resource includes a PowerPoint presentation, student activity sheets and resource guide. Start by downloading The Mission: protect our oceans challenge pack and use extension packs to dive deeper into further Ocean themes

Mission protect our oceans challenge pack

why the oceans matter, sea life and habitats, threats and challenges to ocean health!

A world of pollution extension pack

This extension pack includes three PowerPoint presentations that you can choose from, each with their own activity sheet and guide. 

Ocean pollution
The plastic problem
Ocean = carbon eater

Climate Power extension pack

This extension pack includes two PowerPoint presentations that you can choose from, each with their own activity sheet and guide. 

The weather and the oceans
The Arctic Ocean

NSERC Inventor's log Part I - Developing your idea!

Download our Mission: protect our oceans inventor’s log to get them to develop their idea to the full! 
This log has activities that children can complete in their own time to think more about their invention, write a story or comic, do some research and get plenty of top tips!


NSERC Oceans Inventors log part II - prototype your idea!

Take your ocean invention idea from 2D to 3D is another great way to understand how your invention could work in real life. Creating a model using cardboard or recycled materials can help you refine your idea, and might even change how you think about it! Have a go!

NSERC and Little Inventors Mini Challenge Pack 1

This is the first pack of mini challenges brought to you by NSERC and Little Inventors that deals with all sort of problems threatening our oceans.

NSERC Mission: Protect Our Oceans - Drawing Sheet

Terms and conditions

  1. This Challenge is open to all Canadian residents aged between 5 and 15 years old.
  2. Any individual may upload as many invention ideas as they wish.
  3. All entries must be original and the entrants’ own work.
  4. Uploading of an invention drawing should only be done by a responsible adult with appropriate permissions from the inventor and their parent/guardian. Once uploaded, it is in the public domain and visible to anyone who looks at the website to see all the wacky and wonderful ideas.
  5. Only uploaded invention ideas that meet our threshold for quality will be displayed in the online gallery, this includes the relevant text information about the student and the idea. Only ideas in the gallery will be considered for making. The judgment on this threshold is entirely at our discretion and we will not enter into any communications about our decision.
  6. The closing date for submissions is February 28, 2021 at midnight Pacific Time.
  7. As the creator you will always own the copyright to your invention drawing, and by uploading it you grant NSERC, Canadian Commission for UNESCO and Little Inventors non-exclusive, worldwide and perpetual rights to use, implement, reproduce and commercialise your content. This means we can use it at exhibits, on our website, and it might even feature in one of our books!
  8. As part of the Little Inventors Mission: protect our oceans challenge we will choose some invention ideas to make real, which is a magnificent part of Little Inventors. It is our decision which inventions will be made real.
  9. If your invention is chosen, we will be in touch to involve you in the making process so you can guide how your idea is made real. We will cover all costs, and own the object afterwards whereby it may be used in exhibitions or other Little Inventors activities.
  10. Any activities with the objects made real or their creators are not guaranteed and are liable to change or cancellation at any time, without notice.
  11. Our purpose is to give children the freedom and inspiration to use their imagination and creativity to come up with fantastic, funny and far-out invention ideas.
  12. In order to be involved in the Challenge, you must agree to the rules and conditions above. Therefore, please read these carefully twice and make sure you are happy to continue. By uploading an invention drawing you agree to the rules and conditions here stated.