Meneley students display inventions |

Meneley students display inventions

by Scott Neuffer

To invent something is to reformulate the world and change the way our society functions – the light bulb, the automobile, the microwave – a fact not lost on students of Meneley Elementary School who participated in the annual invention convention on Thursday.

“We had a new requirement this year that students had to do an Internet search to see whether their invention had previously been invented,” said fifth-grade teacher Cathy Hackler, who oversees the event each year. “Initially, if they found on the computer it’d been invented, they were bummed. But then they revised their projects and added modifications.”

Hackler said there were 164 projects in grades 4-6 displayed on Thursday. Twenty-five members from the community volunteered to judge the projects. Results will be published in a later edition.

Fifth-grader Dakota Cannoy conceived of something potentially valuable to Nevada’s precious metals economy with his Gold Mining Truck.

“It takes a full-size processing plant and makes it fit in the back of a truck,” Dakota reported.

The students used an Adventure Wheels Ram 3500 for the floor model. Mounted on the back hitch was a shovel for digging up gold ore. Attached to the bed was an economically sized sluice box with water sprayers positioned above to help separate materials. In theory, the system’s hose is fed into a nearby water source to ensure a constant supply, the effluent is discharged, and any gold is siphoned into a secure lock box in the back of the truck.

“It will benefit anybody who prospects for gold,” Dakota said. “I got the idea when my dad and I were watching ‘Gold Rush’ together.”

Dana Merriam had a different breakthrough while spending a day at Kirkwood.

“I saw people hiking up with skis,” the fourth-grader wrote. “I thought it was hard to carry the skis up the mountain.”

The student’s Foldable Skis solved the problem by making skis themselves more portable. To demonstrate, an old pair of Dynastars had been cut in three pieces and neatly folded, with the bindings attached to the middle section. Popsicle sticks represented Dana’s idea of two keys that would be placed in the breaks to lock the segments together.

“Keys are pushed into two slots to keep it steady, then you can take out the keys, and it can be folded,” Dana said. “I think my invention is unique and original because I thought of it.”

Fifth-grader Emma Falquez focused on the art of coffee consumption.

“I got the idea for my invention from watching my mom make coffee,” she said. “My mom likes lots of sweet creamer in her coffee. Sometimes she doesn’t have a spoon to stir it with.”

Emma’s Sweet Spoon boasted a sleek, conical design. When used properly, her diagrams showed, the top flip-cap is opened to fill the container with the desired additive. A release button on the side of the container injects the creamer and sugar through a spout alongside the attached spoon.

“I know a lot of people who like coffee and would use this in their home,” Emma said. “I have seen creamer in a little cup but never with a spoon.”

Fifth-grader Hanna Wilson, 11, decided to innovate in the classroom, thanks to the habits of her brother.

“My brother usually forgets his homework,” she explained.

Her Forget Me Not project might better be described as a proprietary system rather than a product. She said every student would have a bar code on their backpack, wallet, or purse. Scanning it at the end of the day would result in their homework assignments for the night popping up on a screen. The lists could also be printed.

Every morning, Hanna said, teachers would simply program the Forget Me Not by typing in homework assignments on their computer.

She believes the invention would help students like her brother. She said the idea came naturally to her.

“I want to tell everyone to keep thinking of good inventions,” she said.