Fourth graders at Samuel Staples Elementary School showed off their inventions and problem-solving skills during the Connecticut Invention Convention (CIC) event held at the school Feb. 28.
The event was part of a CIC program that includes the selection of students to go on to participate at the state convention hosted by the University of Connecticut in April.
“I made the ‘Throat Coat,’ which is a sleeve that covers the hockey neck guard,” said student Adelyn Pulie. “Many kids don’t like wearing a hockey neck guard and have gotten hurt because of it. I knew once it was done, it would be much safer to play since it’s made from a thicker fabric which would make it less irritating and more comfortable.”
“We usually start the process at the beginning of January and then we start to focus on problems in their lives and what kind of things they could invent to solve simple problems in their lives,” said fourth-grade teacher Darcy Scholz.
With Covid restrictions in place the past two years, SSES has been unable to participate in the CIC at UConn, but this year organizers made adjustments to allow students to compete from their respective classrooms.
“In the last few years, everything has been virtual,” said Scholz. “In the past, they would bring their inventions to UConn, and then they would have the big invention day throughout the state. However, when they started virtual last year, we didn’t do it because the Covid numbers were higher, but this year we’re doing it in the classroom.”
With all fourth-grade classes at Samuel Staples competing, there were many poster board boards displaying students’ unique inventions.
As part of the inventing and learning process, students not only had to come up with a novel idea for a useful invention, but also had to propose creative solutions to the inevitable problems, challenges and setbacks they faced along the way.
“I started with a sticker that was glued to the mask, but then it kept falling off so I decided to use paint,” said student Debra Belanger, inventor of the “Fever Meter.” “My whole family was quarantined so I decided that if I had a mask that could tell if you had a fever, which is the first sign of Covid, then it would help you.”
Out of the approximately one hundred fourth-grade students who participated in this initiative, the following students’ inventions were selected to be considered for the CIC state finals: Belanger, Pulie, Max Borofsky, Ziv Kalita, Amelia Khan, Lainey Sogofsky, Ariana Pigott-Spencer, Abel Rodriguez, Charlotte Tramposch, and Lucas Becker. Seila Sarkinovic, Chase Kaldawy, and Izabella Coppola were also chosen as the three alternates.
These students will be moving forward to the next step of the CIC, which will be submitting a video of their invention to be judged virtually.
“When my teacher told me that I won, I was so excited,” said Tramposch, inventor of the “Canine Canvas.” “I wasn’t sure I could win, but I had hope. I’m excited to move forward and am thinking about how to move forward to the nationals too.”
According to the Connecticut Invention Convention website, “Since its inception in 1983, an estimated 300,000 K-12 children have experienced CIC invention programs. Annually the CIC serves more than 17,000 students across Connecticut from nearly 300 participating schools.”