Kid Inventors

January 24, 2012 by staff 

Kid InventorsKid Inventors, ePals Corporation, an education media company and leading safe social learning network, and the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation are happy to announce the 15 student winners of their international K-12 Invention Challenge. Coinciding with Kid Inventors’ Day, which commemorates the January 17th birthday of inventive founding father Benjamin Franklin, today’s unveiling of winning products showcases a range of unique student inventions, including a cycle umbrella, cell phone radiation shield, portable spot cleaner, overnight pet feeder, cherry slicer, and more.

With an invitation to think, explore, sketch and create, the Invention Challenge encourages kids to discover the key steps of the invention process and a range of higher-order thinking skills from identifying a need, through researching, building, refining and marketing their products. Students were able to use up to five common household items, such as bottle caps, buttons, playing cards, sponges, tape, cardboard, and kitchen utensils in their inventions and had the option to submit final projects in video, PowerPoint or document form.

Notre Dame Academy Elementary School (Los Angeles, CA) kindergarten teacher Patricia Genovese, two of whose students were among the winners, says her students reacted “with awe and excitement” to the Invention Challenge, and adds, “What has been most rewarding is the students’ realization that they can make a difference in our world.” And teacher Rob Potter, whose four-student team of seventh graders at Cameron Street Public School (Collingwood, Ontario, Canada) invented a winning dog vacuum, says he hopes their recognition “will inspire other students throughout the school to pursue scientific excellence.”

Among the criteria ePals and Smithsonian educator-judges looked for were originality, effectiveness, creativity, and technical quality.

Tricia Edwards, Education Specialist at the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and Invention Challenge judge, says, “We were thrilled with the quality of the inventions students entered. The kids were very engaged in the process and excited about their projects.”

The Invention Challenge this year recognizes 10 winners and five runners up from around the globe and represents students in grades kindergarten through 11.

“At ePals, we’re so happy to be supporting teachers and students with opportunities such as the Invention Challenge that encourage creativity and innovation, while also reinforcing critical science and literacy skills,” says ePals Co-Founder, Tim DiScipio. “This kind of applied learning experience helps plant the seeds for important Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM) skills, but is also just plain fun for the whole class.”

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