DECA Volunteers at Spark!Lab within Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center

DECA student leaders volunteered at the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation to help visiting youth learn more about the process of invention and inspire exploration on Saturday, October 22, 2016.

adrienne_burdaThe event springs from a collaboration between the Lemelson Center and DECA Inc. to bring a hands-on DECA Idea Challenge learning hub within its Draper Spark!Lab at the National Museum of American History.

“It was amazing seeing how Spark!Lab encouraged all forms of innovation and exemplified a combination of collaboration and originality,” said Meghan Chudasama, Virginia DECA Region 2 Vice President. “I learned a lot that could be applied to other aspects of my life.”

For the next few months, the center will feature a hub that ask students to create an object out of cardboard, a take on the 2016 DECA Idea Challenge. This is just one of many activities featured in Draper Spark!Lab that focus on inventing to make the planet a healthier place to live.

DECA volunteers began the day by learning more about Spark!Lab’s mission and how to serve as helpful facilitators of innovation. They even participated in a few hands-on invention activities to get their creativity flowing.

Thank you to the follow DECA members for participating in this awesome event: Adin Martinez, Ally Martinez, Ashlyne Taylor, Brady Thoresen, Brandon Allen, Jacob David, Filiz Sahin, Lainey Mountjoy, Maria Liberi, Meredith Robbins and Robert Moore.

“Volunteering at Spark!Lab was an incredible opportunity and opened my eyes to world of non-judgement,” said Filiz Sahin, Virginia DECA Historian. “Observing the children develop new ideas forgoing the feeling of failure inspired me to do better in my DECA competitive events.”

The volunteers spent the afternoon engaging visitors in a number of fun, critical-thinking activities, such as creating a tool to remove plastic from the ocean. The activities not only push participants to think creatively, but to generate a solution to a pressing problem that affects the planet.

“Here I am spending nearly an hour trying to construct this complex device to help clean and preserve the ocean, and a 10-year-old explains a simpler and more effective solution in a matter of minutes,” said Brandon Allen, DECA Central Region Vice President. “It was truly incredible.”

Draper Spark!Lab’s approach to invention can be utilized when generating a product for the upcoming DECA Idea Challenge. Invention is a process, not a single moment. Ideas go through a number of steps before becoming a reality. When setbacks arise, you are not failing, but discovering works and what does not. Everyone has the inventive capabilities to find a new solution.


About the DECA Idea Challenge

The DECA Idea Challenge, a premier event of Global Entrepreneurship Week, dares student teams around the world to invent a new use for a commonplace item in just eight days! The competition kicks-off November 10, 2016 with the reveal of the mystery item. Download the DECA Idea Challenge Toolkit today to get started.

About Draper Spark!Lab

Draper Spark!Lab encourages children to create, collaborate, explore, test, experiment and invent through activities that incorporate traditional science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) with art, history and creativity. Spark!Lab activities communicate that invention is a process; provide visitors with opportunities to explore the invention process and their own inventiveness; and demonstrate the central role that invention plays in American history—and today. DECA Inc. is excited to continue to collaborate with the Lemelson Center to help students explore their creativity and innovation.


Follow DECA on Twitter @DECAInc.

Categories: Chapter Development, Chapter Resources, Chapter Resources (Home Page Teaser), Comprehensive Learning Program, Global Entrepreneurship Week, Teaching Resources

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