Edison, Marconi and Bell would be proud. Those famous inventors would appreciate the youthful ideas that 36 prizewinning second through eighth graders submitted to the 2001 Craftsman/National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Young Inventors Awards Program.
Nearly 3,400 children nationwide accepted the challenge to invent a new tool or re-think an existing one. From those entries, which were in two grade categories -- second through fifth and sixth through eighth, three dozen students have been named national finalists, or second- or third-place regional winners.
The program, which currently is in its fifth year, will honor the students with the following awards:
-- 12 national finalists each will receive a $5,000 U.S. savings bond, as well as a trip for themselves, their parents and their teachers to the national awards ceremony in September, at which time two top winners of an additional $5,000 bond will be named; -- 12 second-place regional winners each will receive a $500 U.S. savings bond; and -- 12 third-place regional winners each will receive a $250 U.S. savings bond.
"We started the Craftsman/NSTA Young Inventors Awards Program five years ago to encourage children to get involved in science and to honor their creative ideas," said Bob Vila, popular home-improvement personality and spokesperson for the Craftsman/NSTA Young Inventors Awards Program. "This program helps kids identify a problem and design a solution -- skills that science teachers and all educators try to develop in students. Our 36 prizewinning Young Inventors have created tools that are innovative, ingenious and really work!"
National finalists - second-through-fifth-grade category ($5,000 bond): Timothy Kenny, fifth grade Bernardsville Middle School, Bernardsville, N.J. "Ladder Increaser" - a stepladder with adjustable, extendable back legs for uneven surfaces. Rachel Kaminsky, fourth grade Concord Road Elementary School, Ardsley, N.Y. "The Shoe Lace Helper" - uses a swiveling lever, a spool rod and clothespins to teach kids to tie their shoes. Taylor Drane, fourth grade Schwarzkopf School, Lutz, Fla. "Water Miser" - an irrigation device that delivers moisture to the roots and helps conserve water. Kayla Scott, fourth grade M. I. Day Elementary School, Minerva, Ohio "The Sodium Chloride Slide" - works like "a small elevator" to lift up "heavy bags of salt for a water softener." Tony Jarecki, fifth grade Christ is the Way School, Lindsay, Neb. "The Easy Lift Trash Can" - a convenient way to remove full trash bags and install new ones. Phillip Mitchell, fifth grade J. B. Stephens School, Bangs, Texas "Easy Trim" - an adjustable tool, "based on ergonomics," makes it easier to groom goats and lambs for livestock shows. National finalists - sixth-through-eighth-grade category ($5,000 bond): Mitchell Weiss, seventh grade Bess & Paul Siegal Hebrew Academy, Bloomfield, Conn. "Pedal Powered Lawn Mower" - combines a small bicycle with a push mower, to cut the grass. Matthew Marchand, seventh grade Frontier Regional School, S. Deerfield, Mass. "The Mail-O-Matic" - a box on rollers inside a mailbox brings the mail forward when the door is opened. James Antoine, seventh grade Ridgeway Middle School, Memphis, Tenn. "The Tent Peg Puller" - uses a support shaft, lever and cable loop to help campers pull up tent pegs. Carly Monfort, sixth grade Dublin Davis Middle School, Dublin, Ohio "Multi-Purpose Jig" - "to hold small objects and free up hands" when doing soldering, arts and crafts, and more. Andrew Lofgren, eighth grade Logos Christian School, Haviland, Kan. "Roofer's Helper" - "a more efficient way to pull out roofing nails when tearing off old shingles." Jonathan Edwards, sixth grade Panhandle Junior High School, Panhandle, Texas "Step Ramp" - steps that easily convert into a ramp for pushing wheelchairs or moving heavy objects. Second-place regional winners - second-through-fifth-grade category ($500 bond): Rob Kastner, fourth grade Liberty Corner School, Basking Ridge, N.J. "Improved Residential Mailbox Flag" - uses an automatic clip device to raise and lower the flag. Brendan Dwyer, fourth grade Ocean Avenue School, Northport, N.Y. "The Bulb Blaster" - enables people to dig and plant from a standing position, not on their knees. Lee Friedkin, fifth grade Parkview Baptist School, Baton Rouge, La. "Sno-Scooter" - converts a "land scooter" into one that "can be used on the snow." Tessa DiGiacomo, fifth grade M. I. Day Elementary School, Minerva, Ohio "Rescue Tube" - telescopes out onto the ice, bringing equipment to save someone who's broken through it. Samuel Wolock, fifth grade Mission Trail Elementary School, Leawood, Kan. "Easy Reach Coat Rack" - a pulley device raises and lowers a coat rack to assist small children. Jimmy Zimmermann, fifth grade Memorial Drive Elementary School, Houston, Texas "Slingo 2001" - an invention designed to "throw the ball endlessly for a dog to retrieve." Second-place regional winners - sixth-through-eighth-grade category ($500 bond): Brendan Lawson, sixth grade Bernardsville Middle School, Bernardsville, N. J. "The Cricket Scoop" - helps reptile owners pick up crickets without touching them. Thomas Kellett, sixth grade Unqua School, Massapequa, N.Y. "The Button Helper" - "to aid people with one hand or ... limited use of fingers to button their shirt." William Junkin, sixth grade Norwood School, Bethesda, Md. "Gentleman John" - "when you flush, the seat or seats automatically go down." Scott Houser, eighth grade Pettisville Junior High School, Pettisville, Ohio "E-Z Shovel" - a swivel wheel on the back of a shovel enables people to push dirt and snow easily. Courtney Travers, eighth grade The Willows Academy, Des Plaines, Ill. "No-Dough" - helps "scrape out thick dough from beaters when you are cooking." Caitlin Vaughan, sixth grade Mustang North Middle School, Yukon, Okla. "Super Duper Garden Tool" - a hand- or foot-operated device to help gardeners dig holes for planting flowers. Third-place regional winners - second-through-fifth-grade category ($250 bond): Peter Hosinski, fourth grade Davenport School, Stamford, Conn. "Bendable Broom" - a flexible middle enables the broom "to get those hard to reach places." Sasha Seroy, fifth grade PS 77 - NYC Laboratory School, New York, N.Y. "The Unlocker" - combines a Shaker peg, plastic comb, paperclip and more "to help people open boxes." Blaine Tooley, fourth grade Country Day School, Baton Rouge, La. "Tire Washer 900" - "attaches to any size tire and scrubs the hubcaps." Jordan Cross, fourth grade M. I. Day Elementary School, Minerva, Ohio "Five Day Cat Feeder" - a multi-level device stores pre-measured amounts "to feed a cat for five days." Peter Badovinac, fifth grade Thomas Jefferson School, Hoffman Estates, Ill. "Wastenopaste" - a dispenser that conserves toothpaste and eliminates messy tubes. Amanda Crowe, fifth grade Memorial Drive Elementary School, Houston, Texas "Skimmer Hand" - picks up "the skimmer basket" in the pool, "without getting your hands in the water." Third-place regional winners - sixth-through-eighth-grade category ($250 bond): Christopher Cushman, eighth grade Litchfield School, Litchfield, N.H. "The Ultimate Mailbox" - adjustable-height mailbox flexes if hit; also, the flag rises when the door opens. Steven DiBenedetto, sixth grade Unqua School, Massapequa, N.Y. "Grocery Helper" - a wheeled cart with four hooks that can carry 12 grocery bags into the house. Kady Davis, sixth grade All Saints School, Manassas, Va. "Wrenchdriver" - designed "to combine two tools into one" -- a "flathead" screwdriver and a wrench. Stephanie Mote, sixth grade Old Trail School, Bath, Ohio "The Limeade/Lemonade/Orange Juice Maker" - squeezes, collects, strains and pours fruit juice. James Kuo, sixth grade Thomas Jefferson School, Hoffman Estates, Ill. "Supported Shovel" - a hollow "elliptical lump" in the shovel spade adds more leverage and space. Cassidy Gearhart, sixth grade Centennial Middle School, Boulder, Colo. "Plow Shovel" - pushes snow to either side of the V-shaped shovel blade; also, has a push-button "salter."
The Craftsman/NSTA Young Inventors Awards Program is designed to teach students the scientific principles of how tools operate; introduce them to working with hand tools; encourage them to think creatively about the world around them; and enable them to develop practical solutions to everyday problems.
For more information on the Craftsman/NSTA Young Inventors Awards Program, write to Craftsman/NSTA Young Inventors Awards, c/o National Science Teachers Association, 1840 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201-3000; call toll-free 1-888-494-4994; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. There also is information at NSTA's Web site at http://www.nsta.org/programs/craftsman.htm .
Founded in 1944, the National Science Teachers Association is the world's largest organization dedicated to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. The association's current membership of more than 53,000 includes science teachers and supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.
Craftsman is the top-selling brand of tools and lawn and garden equipment in the United States. Craftsman opens more garage doors, mows more lawns, fills more tool boxes, and organizes, stores and protects more tools than any other brand in America.
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SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.
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