Little Inventors

The United Nations has launched the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030. 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 build 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 and showcased during Science Odyssey in 2022.

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

The Little Inventors Mission: Protect our Oceans - Mini challenge project consists of 6 ocean-themed challenges designed to be done as a quick and fun activity at home or school or be delivered to students as a series of full lessons.

The children can choose one mini-challenge or do all 6 of them! (See below)

The challenge is supported by FREE resource packs:

The Little Inventors Protect our Oceans - Mini challenge project consists of six ocean themed challenges designed to be done as a quick and fun activity at home or school or be delivered to students as a series of full lessons.

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- mini challenge proiect pack and use extension packs to dive deeper into further ocean themes

NSERC Mini challenges project - Guide

Challenge 1

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Reduce Ocean Temperature Challenge

Invent a way to reduce the temperature in the ocean

You could think about...

  • how can you protect the surface of the ocean from becoming too warm?
  • how could you help the water temperature cool down?
  • how can you protect the arctic ice from melting too fast?

Download the Arctic Ocean resource pack What's inside: The Arctic Ocean Workshop guide, The Arctic Ocean presentation and the Time to reflect activity sheet

Challenge 2

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Stop Plastics Challenge

Invent a way to use less plastic everyday, or to avoid single use plastic such as disposable cups

You could think about…

  • inventing a way to use less everyday, throw away plastic such as plastic cups
  • plastic makes its way to the oceans via drains, streams and rivers, how could you stop this?
  • could your invention do something creative with plastic that already exists to stop it from getting into our waterways?

Download the The Plastic Problem resource pack What's inside: The Plastic Problem workshop guide, The Plastic Problem presentation and Your Day in Plastic activity sheet

Challenge 3

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Endangered Species challenge

Invent something to fish without endangering other marine species

You could think about...

  • inventing a way to prevent overfishing
  • how can we stop fishing bycatch (catching the wrong thing)
  • how can we monitor and learn more about marine creatures to better help them

Download the Mission: Protect our Oceans Resource pack What's inside: Mission: Protect our Oceans Workshop guide, Mission: Protect our Oceans presentation and Ocean Profiler activity sheet

Challenge 4

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Reduce Noise challenge

Come up with an invention idea to keep our oceans noise free

You could think about...

  • a way to reduce noise from ships and boats
  • how can we stop noise traveling so far underwater?
  • how can we make sea creatures' habitats quieter?

Download the Ocean Pollution resource pack What's inside: Ocean Pollution Workshop guide, Ocean Pollution presentation and The Quiet Ocean activity sheet

Challenge 5

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Climate change challenge

Invent a way to reduce the amount of carbon emissions in the air to help the ocean regulate climate

You could think about...

  • how can our transportation be cleaner
  • using less electricity in everyday life
  • how can grow more food nearer to where we live to cut down on transportation

Download the Ocean=carbon eater resource pack What's inside: Ocean = carbon eater Workshop Guide, Ocean = carbon eater presentation and Take a deep breath activity sheet

Challenge 6

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Clean Oil Spills challenge

Invent something to clean up ocean spills in the oceans.

You could think about...

  • inventing a way to collect oil from the oceans
  • how can we prevent oil spills from ships?
  • invent a way to help animals affected by oil spills

Download the Ocean Pollution resource pack 2 What's inside: Ocean Pollution Workshop guide, Ocean Pollution presentation and the Traveling Without a Trace activity sheet

How to enter!

You can submit more than one invention idea.

Submit invention ideas through our upload page.

  1. Draw your inventionon the worksheet of the mini-challenge of your choice
  2. Scan the *whole* sheetas straight on as possible
  3. Upload it in JPEG, PNG or GIF format (choose a file)

Each invention idea will comprise of an image of a clear drawing, the name, age and location of the inventor, the name of the invention and a description, and a contact email address.

Examples of scanned images

Not so good

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 thought up by the children
  5. Only uploaded invention ideas that meet our threshold for quality will be displayed in the online gallery; this also applies to the accompanying text information about the student and the idea. Only ideas in the gallery will be considered for making. The judgment as to the quality of an invention is entirely at our discretion and we will not enter into any communications about our decision.
  6. The closing date for submissions is March 26, 2022 at midnight Pacific Time.
  7. The creator will always own the copyright to their invention drawing, and by uploading it they grant NSERC, Canadian Commission for UNESCO and Little Inventors non-exclusive, worldwide and perpetual rights to use, implement, reproduce and commercialise its 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 as to which inventions will be made real.
  9. When an invention is chosen, we get in touch with the inventor to involve them so they can guide the process of how their 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 planned with the objects or their creators are not guaranteed and can be changed or cancelled 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, children must agree to the rules and conditions above. Therefore, they must read these carefully twice and make sure they are happy to continue. By uploading an invention drawing, participants agree to the rules and conditions here stated.