The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 31, 2013

Inventing for the future

CAMANCHE — Young inventors found solutions to real problems and learned how to present their ideas at the annual Camanche Elementary Invention Convention.

From a safety seat that could save children from heat stroke to a bottle that dispenses medicine, the young thinkers came up with unique creations to deal with very serious situations.

“I am thrilled by this year’s creations,” teacher Sheryl Kennedy said. “Every year I’m more and more amazed at what they come up with.”

Both third and fourth graders took part in the unique opportunity to participate and take on the challenge of creating something useful that has not been created before. Many of the fourth graders faced the difficulty of coming up with a new invention to follow up their creation last year.

“It’s really fun and it’s a challenge to think of something new, but I learned a lot,” fourth-grader Hayden Burke said.

Many of the students found solutions to problems their loved ones faced and others made inventions that solved nationwide problems. Payton Draper created the Handy Cane, a walking cane that features several storage areas, to help his grandpa.

“My grandpa lost his leg and sometimes he doesn’t have enough pockets to store everything,” Draper said.

Avriana Powell wanted to help her little brother get his medication and her mom have an easier time giving the medicine, so she created the Baby Bottle with Medicine Dispenser. She got help from her mom to drill a hole in the bottle and inserted a syringe into the side making it easy to keep young ones healthy.

Teachers are demanding pre-orders of Riley Sowle’s Long Distance Coffee Warmer. His creation uses hot packs to keep coffee warm for up to 10 hours. Other creations included desk organizers, pet protectors, a puzzle protector and a variety of other creations.

No problem was too big to address for the brave inventors. Students Zayne Feller and Christopher Dorsey tackled universal problems such as getting injured putting up Christmas lights and child deaths from being left in the car in extreme weather. Feller’s No Ladder Light Hanger allows the decorator to put lights up from far away with an adjustable pole and claw. Dorsey’s No Child Left Behind car seat notifies parents with an alarm if the child is in danger of suffering heat stroke or even death.

“Children can be killed when it is too hot or too cold,” Dorsey said. “I wouldn’t want this invention to be very expensive, so parents can afford to protect their kids.”

 This is the first step of Invent Iowa, a statewide outreach program developed to assist Iowa’s educators in promoting the invention process as part of the curriculum in kindergarten through high school. Invent Iowa utilizes a multidisciplinary approach that enables students to use several academic skills in combination: reading, library and field research, science and technology, creative and critical thinking, writing, art, and persuasive speaking.

Camanche has a history of having many successful inventors in the competition. Last year Sean McDermott was awarded a scholarship for Sean’s Awesome Egg Carrier following a series of awards from previous inventors throughout the past few years.

“There is an excitement to know you’re doing something that will last for awhile,” McDermott said, who returned this year with the All Purpose Organizer.

From developing a useful and new idea to the trial and error process of creating it, students spend countless hours perfecting their inventions.

“It is daunting to thinking about creating something that no one has ever developed,” Kennedy said. “That’s a lot to do when you’re only 8.”

Despite the hard work and dedication required, nearly all the students said they enjoyed the project and were excited to present their projects.

“I like all the testing and presenting to judges,” Dorsey said. “All the hard work really pays off.”

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