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  • Functional Models – many invention models are working versions of the invention. These models are early versions, or prototypes, of the final invention. They are used to test the design and the materials used in order to refine the invention before the final product is built.

Think about which type of model will be best for your invention.
As you build, you may think of other ideas for the design; be sure to write them down in your Inventor’s Log. You may also realize that your initial sketch for your idea won’t work. If that happens, think about it some more and then make the changes to your model. Make sure to record your changes in your Inventor’s Log. When you’re all done, look at your creation and think if there are any other changes you feel are needed before you begin your testing.
Step 4 – Test the Model Young Inventors Showcase
This is one of the most essential steps in inventing, as this is where you learn what you need to do to make your model work. Often, you will cycle between building and testing while developing your final invention, as each test you conduct tells you about more changes that you need to make. Perseverance, determination and tenacity are important qualities of an inventor! Make sure to record all your data in your Inventor’s Log along with any changes you choose to make to your invention. Get stuck? Ask family members and friends to help you test. Sometimes if there’s a problem, they will be able to see things that you might miss - take advantage of fresh eyes!
Just as there are two major types of models, each model is tested differently:

  • Conceptual Testing – When testing conceptual models, the goal is to see if others understand your invention and how it is supposed to work. This is when you’ll need to enlist the help of friends or family. They should look at the model and offer suggestions on changes you can make to better illustrate your invention’s purpose. The most important part of conceptual testing is to listen to their comments—they are telling you what they perceive, which is often different from what you see—do not get defensive about your model. Take their comments and use them to create a final model that everyone can understand!
  • Functional Testing - When conducting functional tests, you want to make sure that your invention does what you intended and that it does it consistently. This step is also where materials are tested; your invention may work once but the material you have chosen might not stand up to a second try or it just might not be the best material for the job. There is often a great deal of testing, tinkering, and retesting in the invention process, so don’t get discouraged. When Thomas Edison was creating the light bulb, he was once asked if he had failed because he didn’t have results despite all his tests. He replied, “Results? I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work.” Edison was also quoted as saying that “genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration," meaning that the idea is just the beginning; you need to put in a lot of work to be a successful inventor.

Step 5 – Finalize Your Invention Young Inventors Showcase
This is it! Go back, review all your tests and observations, check over all the
modifications you’ve made to your inventions, and make sure everything makes
sense. Once all that is done, go ahead and put on your final touches to make your inventions your own: add decorations or color, give it a final name, and put together your presentation for the competition (see next section).
We look forward to seeing the fruits of your labors!


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