Inventions to bet on at Minden Elementary’s annual convention |

Inventions to bet on at Minden Elementary’s annual convention

by Scott Neuffer

Investors take note. America’s next generation is chock-full of profitable ideas.

Minden Elementary fifth-grader Tanner Dumas actually performed market research for his product displayed in the school’s sixth annual invention convention on Jan. 26.

“I asked 27 people at school. I had 27 yes votes and zero no’s,” Tanner reported. “That told me more people would buy my invention.”

Tanner is a tether ball fan, but his enthusiasm for the sport wanes in the winter months.

“It was very cold outside, and I had a rope burn from tether ball,” he explained in his report. “That’s how I decided to use a finger and how I came up with finger tether ball.”

His invention exhibited in the library was simple, functional, and extremely attractive to other students. He used spraypainted plywood and four wooden shims as a base for the miniature court, a plastic dowel for the traditional pole, elastic threading for rope, and a tennis ball. A tap of the finger, a spike of the pinkie, revealed how easy and comfortable the game is to play.

“My problem was it being too cold outside to go play and also being bored on long road trips and not having a fun family game to play,” Tanner wrote. “My solution was to build a portable game that can entertain people of all ages.”

The relationship between problem and solution is always a consistent theme throughout the convention, said third-grade teacher Lauren Spires. She said this year there were approximately 100 projects invented by students in grades 2-6.

“The students are so excited to come up with the idea because the problems are very personal to them,” she said. “They’re taking something important to them and trying to change it.”

Third-grader Mikias Broersma, 8, explained how one of his hands doesn’t work very well.

“When I try to pour milk, I spill a lot,” he said. “The jug is heavy and tips over easy.”

His solution to the problem was to find some way to pour milk with only one hand.

Think of those large condiment containers in cafeterias that have pump dispensers, so that one can smother French fries with a simple slap of the palm or jab of the elbow. Imagine a similar siphoning device in portable form that fits over the opening of a milk jug.

Mikias’ prototype showed an interconnected pump, cap, knob and spout.

“I invented a milk helper to help people like me,” he said.

Spires said students take into account the fluid nature of technology around them.

“They use technology, are aware of it, and come up with ideas on how to improve it,” she said.

For example, third-grader Justice Sabo brought cutting-edge communications to the bathroom with the TP Texter.

“It’s basically the same thing as a normal toilet paper holder,” Justice said. “It sends you a text when you need more TP.”

The prototype consisted of a small keypad in which consumers punch in their current inventory of toilet paper. Below the roll was a sensor to read the amount of paper left and number of rolls replaced.

“Open a new package of toilet paper and on the keyboard type in how many rolls you have,” Justice wrote. “When you’re halfway down your last roll, it will text you, and you know to buy more when you go shopping.”

Each student was asked to describe whom their invention would benefit. The TP Texter targeted three market segments:

“Busy moms, janitors, and forgetful people,” Justice said.

6th grade

1st place: Carly Howe, The Hand Scan, Mrs. Bertolone-Smith

5th grade

1st place: Tanner Dumas, Finger Tetherball, Mrs. Caldwell-Rothfusz

2nd place: Yashica Flores, Binder In A Backpack, Mrs. Caldwell-Rothfusz

3rd place: Megan Cruz, Self Cleaning Hair Brush, Mrs. Caldwell-Rothfusz

Honorable Mention:

Malik Avila, Friendly Tweezers, Mrs. Caldwell-Rothfusz

Cory Farthing, Buzzer Wuzzer Speller, Mrs. Caldwell-Rothfusz

Ethan Lee, Sloosh Socks, Mrs. Caldwell-Rothfusz

4th grade

1st place – tie: Amanda Shaffer, Marco Polo 2 Phase Finder, Ms. Mckeon

1st place – tie: Anna Bertolone, Snap-Ums, Ms. Keasling

2nd place: Matthew Strand, Lighted Football Jersey, Ms. Keasling

3rd place: Hanna Horvat, Kernel Kups, Ms. Keasling

Honorable Mention:

Bryce Busch, Golfball at Hand, Ms. Keasling

Ozzie Gonzalez, The Cush Push, Ms. Keasling

Seraina Reid, Fur B Gone, Ms. Keasling

3rd grade

1st place: Brayden Worthington, Holds It All, Mrs. Spires

2nd place – tie: Savannah Sabo, Rescue Mom, Mrs. Spires

2nd place – tie: Roy Testa, Internal Vehicle Air Jack, Mrs. Spires

3rd place – tie: Mikias Broersma, The Milk Helper, Mrs. Spires

3rd place – tie: Ariel Rose, Portable Light Fence, Mrs. Spires

Honorable Mention:

Kennedy Cole, Clean Clothes Conveyor, Mrs. Spires

Brooklyn Galliett, The Super Budget Scanner, Mrs. Spires

August James, Hot Box Water Heater, Mrs. Spires

2nd grade

Honorable Mention:

Christopher Slobogin, Walking Stick for Blind Dogs, Mrs. Howe

Joey Guariglia, Flashlight Beam, Mrs. Patmon