Invention Convention

Pupils pull the plug on pestering problems

Posted: Wednesday, March 09, 2005


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  Kinsie Schultz

Brayden Holt show his Pole Protector on Tuesday at Soldotna Elementary School. The protective traveling case is for his frequent ice-fishing trips. Today is the Invention Convention for sixth-grade students who have been working on their inventions since January. The convention runs from noon until 6:15 p.m. Thursday in the school gymnasium.

Photo by Layton Ehmke

Lately, Soldotna Elementary School sixth-grade teacher Karlene Meyer's classroom looks more like a shop-class as evidence of a thousand brain storms and inventing processes clutter the classroom.

Her students have been hard at work since January, thinking up invention ideas and experimenting with various materials. Her students are thick in a state of creativity and resourcefulness as they gear-up for the Invention Convention and to show the products of their imagination this week.

Meyers challenged her students to come up with an innovative idea for an invention. She told them to think up something that would be useful and to use the scientific process to make it happen.

"The students had to address a problem in a new and creative way. We prepared by brainstorming and researching famous inventors and found that most inventions happened as a result of accidents. It's been a lot of work on their part, and this also counts as a big chunk of their science grade for this quarter," Meyers said.

The Soldotna Elementary Invention Convention starts today at noon as retired teachers from the community act as judges for the event.

"Six or seven judges will review the inventions and make recommendations on which ones are innovative and useful. The winning students will get a preliminary certificate. We looked at the requirements to getting a patent through the U.S. patent office. So if they want to apply for a patent on their own after the convention is over, that will be up to themselves," Meyers said.

The sixth-grader's inventions came from their own experiences with hobbies and the desire to make every-day tasks easier. According to students, along with the process of inventing something useful and innovative, they had to fill out "tons of paperwork and proposals" complete with a step by step explanation and specifications. According to Meyers, her students have been working diligently to meet those goals. Here are some of their inventions.

Sixth-grade inventor Brayden Holt's invention idea came to him while at an ice-fishing derby this winter. His Pole Guard serves practical and necessary purposes while fishing through the ice.

Holt's invention is a protective case that keeps his gear secure en route to his fishing hole. Two long pieces of hook and loop tape keep his poles and slush scooper fastened to a padded surface within the sturdy wooden case. A bright blue oil-based paint protects the Pole Guard from the elements. Holt is confident his invention will do well at the convention.

"Pretty much anything I make is an 'A' in my book. It takes some precision," Holt said. Like any studious inventor, he sees things about his creation he would alter to make a better, more practical product.

"I should add a handle onto the case so it's easier to carry around. It could have been a little bit lighter in weight," he said. "It matches the sled, and you can sit on it, too, so your backside doesn't get so cold."


Blaine Cobban


To help his mom get some refreshing sleep, Blaine Cobban invented a pillow case with a pocket especially for potpourie.

"It's versatile because you can put whatever kind of scent you want in it. I'm allergic to what's in it now, but my mom likes it," he said.

Cobban plans to add a flap with Velcro over the pocket and make different sizes for bigger pillows.

"My grandma helped with the sewing. She's the best." Cobban said.


Miranda Smith


Miranda Smith thought the traditional sling shot was out-dated and dangerous, so she made the Slinger, which shoots it's ammunition with a spring and lever instead of a sling.

"I just thought the sling shot needed to be improved. I tried to make this with a button and internal parts, but that was too difficult," she said. "With my invention, you won't snap yourself."


Sean Endsley

Box Carrier

Sean Endsley noticed his elderly neighbor was having difficulty picking up heavy boxes that were hurting his back. Endsley's box carrier is a clip-on clip-off strap system that attached to various sized boxes and offers a handle to ease the heavy load. Endsley said he's looking forward to having his neighbor try out the invention.

"I'll give him the prototype, and if he thinks it's useful I'll get a patent," he said.


Jenna Randall

Head Lamp 3000

Jenna Randall's friend had trouble seeing in the dark at a sleepover earlier this year. According to Randall, her friend tripped over the family dog at some point in the night. To avoid future pain to both Randall's friend and the dog, she came up with a comfortable hat with a lamp on the front.

"You could also use this on fishing trips when it's dark all the time," Randall said.


Cody Carroll


Cody Carroll spends his time hunting and fishing and wanted to cut back on the silverware he'd been packing on his trips. He combined a spork and a knife into one whole tool which he said can be used to eat and clean fish.

"You won't lose your silverware anymore with this," he said. If Carroll ends up getting a patent on his invention, he plans to give the money to his dad and put some into a college account for himself.


Kali Sholin

Hands-Free Garbage Remover

Kali Sholin wanted to make dump-runs more bearable by inventing a system that would push trash out of the back of a truck with a system of hydrolics. Her miniature model of the idea demonstrates how people can cut down on the smelly factor.

"I don't know how to use a table saw, so my brother helped me with that," she said.


Kinsie Schultz


Kinsie Schultz was tired of breathing and getting hair spray stuck all over her face as she did her hair. She made the Non-Sticky-Face out of an old helmet visor. She's already given it a test-run, and said it works just how it's supposed to.


Erica Byerly

Retractable Leash

Erica Byerley invented a dog collar with a leash inside to help handle the three labradors her family owns.

"It took me a couple of weeks to decide what I was going to invent. I listened to a lot of ideas from different people. It's a difficult process," she said. "Maybe I'll give my idea to a good company."

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