Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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March 12, 2010

SCHOOLS: Starpoint Invent-A-Thon encourages ingenuity

PENDLETON — Even if it gets cold during the winter, that doesn’t stop Starpoint third-grader David Wanamaker from going outside to play. And thanks to his invention, Wanamaker can stay outside even longer than before.

The “Toasty Traveler” keeps people warm by having bags of warmed-up rice placed in different parts of a winter coat. Wanamaker, 8, said he made the pouches that contain the rice, then put the pouches into a microwave for about a minute to heat them up. The result was Wanamaker could extend the time he was outside without feeling a chill.

“After an hour, my coat was still warm,” Wanamaker said. “I was able to stay outside longer.”

Wanamaker’s idea was one of many inventions submitted for Starpoint Intermediate School’s 15th annual Invent-A-Thon. The event is meant to encourage ingenuity while helping students find solutions to real world problems, such as staying warm while outside. Third-, fourth- and fifth-graders created their inventions and set them up for the Invent-A-Thon on Thursday night in the school’s gym. Members of the community packed the gym, with almost wall-to-wall people, to view the inventions and to talk with the inventors.

There were 122 students, some working in pairs and others on their own, who submitted 72 inventions.

The inventions made it easier to do chores, swat bugs, contain items and clean up after animals. One such example was what fifth-graders Brittany Schoenfeld, 11, and Carly Bettinger, 10, came up with. The two invented the “Puppy Paw Cleaner,” something that would be useful with spring coming soon.

How it works is this: A dog comes in the house with dirty paws from being outside. The dog steps in a small tub of water, then walks over to a mat made up of sponges, cleaning off whatever is on their paws.

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