At the school I worked at previously, a wonderful teacher would put on an Invention Convention each year. She would ask all of the 3rd grade students to come up with an original invention, something that has not been designed already, design the prototype for their invention, and create the display board with the design process (explaining why they came up with their design, why it’s needed, etc). It was a really fabulous display of creativity for all of the students and it was always such a great experience for all the students to go through the convention and ask the INVENTORS questions regarding their designs and prototypes.
Each year, I would have my students BRAINSTORM questions that they would want to ask the INVENTORS before going through the Invention Convention. I did this because I wanted to set a purpose for going through the displays instead of having the students haphazardly roaming around, which would end up with a few of them misbehaving. After our brainstorm, I would design a template for the students to use, give each child a clipboard and a pencil, and off would go my ‘scientists’ to investigate these new engineered prototypes. I tried to reinforce to my ‘scientists’ that questioning and inquiry is one of the most important skills that scientists, engineers, inventors, and problem solvers use in the world.
Here are some pictures and resources- so perhaps you can have your own INVENTION CONVENTION–
Here are some SCIENCE websites that promote inquiry-