Meneley teacher Cathy Hackler, organizer of the school’s annual invention convention, said the event gives students the opportunity to problem solve and look at the world in new ways.
“Students were asked to think about problems in their lives, or in the life of someone they knew, that could be solved with an invention or innovation of an existing product,” she said. “They had to think about how to make the world better, and that helped them see the world from different perspectives.”
Fifth-grader Claire Christopher, 11, swims four times a week with the Douglas Dolfins. She loves swimming, but she hates it when her goggles fog up.
“So I invented the Fog-Free Goggles,” she said.
Claire fashioned a lever on the side of her goggles, attaching it to a pair of zip ties above the lenses. “You move the little bars up and down and they wipe the fog off,” she said.
Fourth-grader Dean Cummins, 9, made a model of his idea, the Family Home Trash Chute.
“I came up with the idea watching my mom take out the trash,” he said.
His model, made of cardboard and tin foil, showed how a laundry chute-like structure could be built under a kitchen sink and run through the exterior of a house to a trash can outside.
“My mom’s sick of taking out the trash, I’m sick of taking out the trash, but with this invention, you won’t have to take out the trash any more,” Dean said.
“These students have to think these whole things out, and it’s really a process,” he said. “They have to make changes and revisions, and that requires a great deal of thought, of going beyond and engaging. They no doubt feel good about themselves.”