Young inventors share incredible innovations

Published 4:53 pm Tuesday, May 5, 2020

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At the most basic level, an invention is an attempt to solve a problem, and this semester, students from John Small Elementary School have tried their hand at fixing some of the challenges they face in their own lives. The results of those efforts were on full display last Friday, as 32 fourth and fifth graders shared innovations during the school’s annual Invention Convention that could make everyone’s lives a little easier.

“I assigned this back in December, so the students started, at that point, thinking of ideas,” said JSS enrichment teacher Kathryn Bryant. “Some of them came up with ideas right away and it took some of them a little longer. Once they had their idea, they were free to start building their prototype.”

From a modified box top to keep cereal fresh, to a toothbrush that also dispenses mouthwash, the kids’ contraptions exhibited both creativity and the follow through needed to take an idea from the drawing board to prototype. Each student offered a virtual presentation outlining their process, using technology to share their ideas

Overall, many students had to learn new skills to make their prototypes. From cutting edge skills like 3D printing and computer design to old-fashioned skills like carpentry and sewing, Bryant says it was exciting to watch her students grow in that way as well.

“I am surprised every year we have the Invention Convention by all of the skills my students learn,” Bryant said. “Some of them have big dream prototypes and they ask their parents for help. The students are responsible for building their prototypes, but parents are allowed to help with things like power tools or sewing machines. When their parents get involved, they learn new skills.”

Of the 32 students who participated, four of the students will go on to compete in the National Invention Convention in June. This will also be held as an online event. Advancing inventors included Hadley Brown, who created the Scrunchie Spinner, Weston Resendez, who made the Lovey Keeper, Ryleigh Elks, with her Mail Fetcher, and Grayson Duncan, who crafted a Nacho Shield.

PERFECT NACHOS: Armed with his trusty Nacho Shield, and parental supervision using the oven, Grayson Duncan can make the perfect nachos, every time.

NO SHOCK: Logan Blank displays his anti-static sliding mat, designed to reduce static electricity shocks when going down a slide.

DOUBLE SCRUB: Julia Freyer’s invention, the Double Scrub, allows one to wash both sides of a dish at the same time.

TIME SAVER: Hadley Brown’s Scrunchie Spinner is a timesaver for the fashionable girl on the go.

FETCH: For the germophobe or arachnophobe, Ryleigh Elks’ Mail Fetcher offers a convenient way to grab important letters from the box.

STALE NO MORE: There’s nothing worse than stale cereal. Amy Hodges addresses that very problem with her Velcro Box Closer.

EQUESTRIAN CARE: With a mane brush on one end and a hoof pick on the other, Kathryn Gautier’s 2-in-1 Horse Brush makes it a little easier to care for her equine friends.

STAY WITH ME: Kids are always losing their favorite stuffed animals. Weston Resendez’s Lovey Keeper makes sure that those constant companions are never far away.

NO SLIP: A gymnast herself, Zofia Cheeseman knows how treacherous the balance beam can be. That’s why she invented this no-slip Grip Beam.