National Invention Convention Rules

These are the official rules of The Henry Ford Museum’s 2020 Invention Convention U.S. Nationals.


This is an invitation-only event. Each Invention Convention Worldwide Affiliate partner is allocated a certain number of invitations to extend to the best members of their respective programs. A limited number of invitations are also allocated for the top scoring inventors from Invention Convention Worldwide’s Independent Inventor Program. If you are a school not in one of our affiliated areas, you can connect with our event through our Independent School Program.


Inventors from grades K-12 who have entered affiliate member competitions and/or Invention Convention Worldwide’s Independent Inventor or School Programs and won an invitation to our event are eligible to take part in this competition. This competition is open to both individual and team competitors.

Note: All inventors must be present for both in-person judging and during the awards ceremony to be eligible for awards.

All projects must have:

  • An inventor’s log (logbook or journal) (Click here for the logbook policy and the logbook)
  • A poster board/trifold (Click here for a checklist with more information)
  • A prototype (which may be non-working)
  • A four-minute unedited and continuous video of the pitch.

Learn more about the judging process here.

Project Restrictions

The trifold display board for Invention Convention U.S. Nationals should be a maximum of 48” wide (24″ with both 12″ sides folded in) and 36” tall, and the trifold is expected to fit onto a footprint of no more than 30” wide (with sides folded in) on the tabletop. Your prototype must fit within this space on the table as well, or in front of the table provided it does not encroach upon neighboring prototypes. No over-sized displays will be allowed in the judging circle. The materials should be age appropriate and total no more than $50.

The following items are not allowed on your person or in your project:

  • Electric stun guns, martial arts weapons or devices
  • Guns, replica guns, ammunition, and fireworks
  • Knives of any size
  • Mace and pepper spray
  • Razors and box cutters

Also: no balloons, glitter, or confetti are allowed in any form.

Note: There will be no access to electrical outlets on the museum floor, so any electrically powered inventions should be battery-powered, and batteries provided by the inventor.


  • Teams may compete against individuals, and vice versa, for select award categories.
  • Teams are limited to four or fewer members.
  • All team members must take part in the team “pitch” both on video and on competition day to be eligible for an award.
  • All members of the team are not required to be present during judging at the national event, however only those present during judging will be eligible for awards and other prizes.
  • Teams only need to submit one logbook for their project.

Each student can enter only one entry into the Invention Convention U.S. Nationals.  No student can participate in both the team and individual competition.

Teams will take part in the same judging processes as individuals. Rules for teams will mirror those of the individuals. Students will classify their inventions upon registration and will be judged in that category unless changed by the judges. The Invention Convention U.S. Nationals staff and judges reserve the right to combine and/or reconfigure awards categories.

More information about 2020 Invention Convention U.S. Nationals: