Meneley students show off inventions |

Meneley students show off inventions

by Scott Neuffer

Rounding out its eighth year, Meneley Elementary School’s annual Invention Convention looked as inventive as ever Thursday afternoon.

About 100 projects of all shapes and sizes, produced by fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders, were displayed in the school’s gymnasium for review by volunteer judges.

“I’m impressed by the inquiry process,” said Meneley Principal Paula Zona. “The students see a problem and create a solution to solve it.”

Fifth-grade teacher Cathy Hackler, who organizes the annual event, said she and other teachers discouraged students this year from pursuing common, well-established inventions, such as pooper scoopers.

“We asked them to look for truly practical solutions,” she said. “And this year we’ve seen more creativity and better log books. We also required them to make two revisions to their original invention, so there was deeper thinking.”

So how practical were the inventions? Consider the conceptual plans for the Mr. Golf & Find, a GPS locating system with tracking chips planted in each golf ball for ultimate recovery. Or how about the prototype of the Recycle Buddy, a large trash bin with foot-pedal controls and compartments for each recyclable material?

Speaking of waste storage, 10-year-old Leeland Smith was especially proud of his practical creation, the Trash Bag Holder Upper.

“I took four clips and superglued them to the sides of the trash can,” he explained. “The idea came when I went to throw something away one day, and the bag was in the trash can instead of on the sides.”

Leeland said if he were to market such a product, he would sell the clips and glue together in a simple package.

“It would pretty much work on any trash can,” he said. “You just need the superglue and clips.”

Classmate Selena Salaiz, 9, said the model of her invention, the Portable Baby Bed, also sprang from an observed need.

“This will help my mom and dad and my little brother, who is 2,” she explained.

Selena said her family recently moved from California, and that Meneley’s Invention Convention was a first for her.

“At my old school, we’d just make stuff for fun,” she said. “But here, we have to make something that helps a problem.”

Selena described her invention as a cross between a crib and a stroller.

“My dad said he thinks it would work,” she said, “and my mom said it should help the whole family.”