Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

February 7, 2014

From dream to reality

By Kaley Lynch kaley.lynch@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — There’s no doubt that necessity is the mother of invention — especially if you ask the more than 100 Starpoint students who presented their creations at the 19th Annual Inventathon Thursday night.

Problems like lighting a dark walkway while shoveling or keeping cookies from getting too soggy in milk obviously needed to be resolved.

The event filled two gymnasiums as students showed off their inventions. The Douglas J. Regan Intermediate students, third- to fifth-graders, worked independently or in pairs to conceive and build their inventions, with 172 students producing 103 inventions.

Students start the process with thinking about a problem they’d like to solve, Susan Coffed, a fourth-grade teacher at Regan and one of the Inventathon advisors said.

“They brainstorm ways to make chores easier, to help the disabled or the elderly, making something safer,” Coffed said. “It’s amazing to see what these kids will come up with on their own!”

Some students made models and diagrams of their inventions while others actually created them, enlisting help from their parents to use power tools.

Third-grader Evan Strong showed off his “Shovelite,” a snow shovel equipped with a flashlight and reflectors for easier, safer shoveling in the dark.

The “Cookie Dipper,” a creation from fourth-graders Alyssa Armitage and Meghan Balko, makes it easy to dunk without losing the cookie to crumbling.

Ammie Regester and Kaitlyn Vu, both fifth-graders, presented their “Not So Soggy” bowl, designed to keep milk and cereal separate for optimum crunchiness.

“The kids really take off on their own,” Jeffrey Cacicia, another fourth-grade teacher and Inventathon advisor said. “It’s great to see them so enthusiastic about it.”

Participation in Inventathon is optional for students.

All students who participate in Inventathon win a participation certificate, and either a red ribbon or a gold medal for their efforts.

Two judges for each grade level award points for the inventions. Paul Choate and Debra Wendt judge the third-grade inventions. Fourth-grade judges are Patricia Hogan and Pam Simmons, and Jeff Tracy and U.S. Patent holder David Meloon judge fifth.

Participating in the Inventathon engages all areas of learning for students, Coffed said.

“Not only are they thinking about math and science, but they’re using creativity and problem solving to come up with their ideas, and utilizing language to explain them to people,” Coffed said. “They’re getting experience with measuring and cutting to create something, but they’re also articulating their ideas for the public.”  

Contact reporter Kaley Lynch at 439-9222 ext. 6245 or tweet to @Lynchie17