CONTACT: DR. LAURIE J. CROFT
CONTACT: GEORGE McCRORY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0012; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 15, 1999
Invent, Iowa! State Invention Convention showcases
300 student inventions
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Over 300 Iowa students will exhibit
the best student inventions from around the state at the annual Invent, Iowa!
State Invention Convention, to be held April 24 at the Iowa State University
Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.
The event is sponsored by the Connie Belin and Jacqueline
N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development
at the University of Iowa, and by the Colleges of Engineering at the UI and
Iowa State University.
The public is invited to view these outstanding inventions
and talk with the inventors from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Hilton Coliseum.
The Invention Convention highlights the efforts of 35,000
elementary and junior-high school students across Iowa who learned about inventions
and creativity though the Invent, Iowa! program during the 1998-99 school
year. To reach the state event, inventions from fourth- through eighth-graders
are selected at local and regional sponsored by area education agencies. High
school students may also submit inventions at the state level.
The experience culminated with the students' inventions,
many of which reflected their interests in solving problems, making life easier
or just having more fun.
Gardens damaged in last summer's storms provided inspiration
for Amanda Gummert and Gretchen Falk from Green Mountain-Garwin Elementary
School in Marshalltown. The fourth-graders built a wire and wood frame rain
shade that can be put over plants to keep them from being pelted during heavy
Fifth-grader Clayton Jacobs of Jefferson Elementary in
Pella had a different situation. Jacobs, who is visually impaired, gave his
sister a $10 bill after she asked to borrow $1. To prevent this happening
again, Clayton used a device to put slight indentations in the bills without
But Jeremy and Justin Mescher's
invention may be the kind found in the Sharper Image catalog. The twins, who
attend eighth grade at Drexler Middle School in Dyersville, made an automatic
toilet paper unroller, which dispenses just the right amount of toilet paper
at the touch of a button.
According to the Invent, Iowa! rules, inventions must
be a completely new product or a new application of an existing product, and
must be the original work of the students. The young inventors compile a journal
of their work and build a backdrop describing the invention. Invent, Iowa!
has helped teachers present the inventive process as a part of the regular
kindergarten through eighth-grade curriculum for over 10 years, according
to Laurie Croft, Invent, Iowa! coordinator.
Evaluation of the inventions is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
at the convention, when inventors describe it to evaluators, who include engineering
faculty and students from the UI and Iowa State, plus entrepreneurs and business
leaders from across Iowa. All participants will receive certificates and the
top inventors will receive savings bonds.
The Invention Convention also includes several educational
activities for the entire family, including computer lab simulations on robot
programming throughout the day. A playtime area for children ages 4 to 7 will
be open from 9 to 11 a.m. at the West Tunnel. Iowa State campus tours will
be given at 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Dr. Susan Assouline, associate director of the Belin-Blank
Center, will present "Parenting for Creativity," for parents of
elementary school students from 11 a.m. in the Coliseum's Gold Room. "Pre-College
Planning," led Monica Bruning, coordinator for outreach and recruitment
in the Iowa State Engineering Department, at 11:45 a.m. in the Coliseum's
Gold Room, is for parents of middle school and high school students.
All activities and the event are free. For more information
about the convention or the Invent, Iowa! program, contact Croft at the UI
Belin-Blank Center, (800) 228-1625. Additional information about Invent Iowa!
is at http://www.uiowa.edu/~belinctr/special-events/inventia/index.html.