by Jane M. Lacasse, Executive Director
The month of March not only brought windy conditions to the Northeast, it also blew in bursts of energy and creative thoughts to our schools as more than 5,000 N.H. students put the finishing touches on their inventions for the 15th Annual N.H. Young Inventors' Celebration, May 12, 2001. Over 300 students, K8, participated in the annual statewide event.
Bridging the gap between every day dilemmas and possible solutions, students look to their own life experiences. Often, it's a nagging chore that's the impetus behind their great ideas. One student might wonder, "How can I wash the dog without getting wet?" While another might ask, "How can I make it easier to take out the trash?"
Nicholas, a second grader, invented the "Tub Sling" for his little brother who broke his leg. His mom was having a difficult time giving him a bath and so Nicholas set out to do some problem solving.
Eric, a fourth grader, has participated for four years in the annual Young Inventors' Celebration. Most recently he invented the "Ontelli-tag" which helps you quickly locate your luggage as it appears on airport carousels.
Research has shown that inventing enhances self-image as it stimulates and fosters creativity. Inventing also relates the scientific message to real life, fires up the inventive spirit in our culture and develops the essential skills of logical thinking, creative problem solving, intellectual risk-taking, and communication. In this process, students enjoy the activities and challenges of inventing solutions to everyday problems.
The Academy-sponsored N.H. Young Inventors' Program helps students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills by defining a real problem, formulating an original solution, developing a product, and sharing the results. The program has been identified as a Program of Excellence by the Regional Laboratory for Educational Improvement of the Northeast and Islands and is listed in Promising Practices in Science and Mathematics Education by the US Department of Education as an "exemplary program" to be replicated nationally. Also, the Academy has established a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution's Lemelson Center to establish a national Young Inventors' Program.