Shelton’s young inventors get creative
SHELTON — Mohegan School played host to what may be some of the city’s next great inventors.
More than five dozen fourth graders put their creations — from the Kitty Car Can to the Ninja Hanger, Maddi’s Amazing Light Boxes to the Animal Safe Storm Drain — on display for judges in the school’s annual Invention Convention.
Collin Judkins’ Kitty Car Can — created to collect garbage that accumulates on the floor of the family car — earned the top prize. He now moves on to the statewide convention at the University of Connecticut in May.
Earning honorable mention were Erin Anderson (The Rain Buddy), Ethan Burr (The Book Buddy), Madison Dlugas (Maddi’s Amazing Light Boxes), Mya Champagne (Leaf Pen), Gabriella Kuniej (Reusable Magnetic Marker) and Rebecca Drury (Animal Safe Storm Drain).
“This is a positive experience for the students,” said fourth grade teacher Patrick Sullivan, now in his fourth year organizing the event.
In all, 64 students participated with 62 total inventions on display. The students began brainstorming when the school year began and keeping an invention journal. The journal is a place, said Sullivan, for students to put their ideas and identify problems they found in the process.
“They really have to become flexible thinkers,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan said some students had to change their invention plans depending on the difficulty involved in bringing the idea to life.
Beyond their thinking, scientific and writing skills, students must also become proficient at public speaking, as each student is required to describe his or her invention and its applications to the judges.
“This work also demonstrated the success of the home and school connection,” said Sullivan, adding that parent assistance played a crucial role in the students’ individual inventions. Successful home and school connections showed in how prepared the students were.
“The focus this year is habits of mind … persevering, striving for accuracy,” said Sullivan. “The goal is to think of a problem that needs to be solved, come up with an idea, and along the way, work through the challenges or problems. They learn not to give up and to keep trying out new ways to solve problems.”