The Boy Scouts of America came into being 100 years ago, way back in 1910. And until 1915, there was a merit badge for inventing. The story goes that the BSA retired it because only ten boys ever earned the badge over a five year period. Evidently it required the boys to both invent something and secure a patent. That's a lot easier said than done.
Fast forward 95 years to 2010. The Inventing badge has now been brought out retirement as part of a partnership between the BSA and the Lemelson-MIT program. The requirements are a bit different now. Scouts are required to do things like research famous inventors, interview people who have invented things, and learn about intellectual property and patent law. They also have to come up with a new invention, and create a working prototype. They don't have to actually file for a patent, which should mean more than ten Scouts earn the badge.
SolidWorks has teamed up with the Scouts to provide a 150-day license of the SolidWorks Student Design Kit to each Scout working on the Invention badge. Scouts can learn drawing, assembly, and animation, and then calculate
the product’s environmental footprint with SolidWorks
SustainabilityXpress. The temporary license is available as a free
download at www.solidworks.com/scouts.
If you know any Scouts, let them know how cool it is to invent new things, and encourage them to think about earning this new/old badge. And if you have the time, consider contacting your local Scout troop and volunteer to help them learn about engineering and design, and maybe even give them a few pointers on using SolidWorks. Kids come up with great ideas. Who knows, you might even learn something yourself.