Ten students from the Westside Middle School Academy STEM program will move on to the regional level of the Connecticut Invention Convention.
On Friday, Nov. 30, 100 sixth-grade students at WSMSA set up their inventions in the school’s cafeteria as a dozen judges asked questions and scrutinized their creations. The ten students are: Arjan Parimi, Christopher Borges, Brianna Scribner, Nataly Vargas, Isabella Russo, Lucas Califano, Caio Florentino, Silvio D’Angelo, Juliet Dahlstrom and Pedro Canto.
In March, these students will have their projects judged at the districtwide Invention Convention held at Western Connecticut State University. Winners will head to the 36th annual Connecticut Invention Convention held on Saturday, May 4, at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. More than 130 Connecticut schools and thousands of young inventors participate every year.
The Invention Convention is part of the science curriculum. For three weeks students engage in coming up with ideas and putting them into motion. One of the crucial learning curves for students is to figure out how to solve problems with their inventions and tweak them to perfection. The invention convention fosters interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics learning for students from kindergarten through eighth grade.
Christopher Borges, one of the students selected to move on, came up with the idea of his “Ultra-Violent Water Filter” when he saw the UV cabinet that cleaned bacteria off the goggles he uses in his science class at Westside. He went home and considered how to use that same science to filter water.
“I tested it and the resulted were that there were air pockets in the water. I learned that UV light can fiter water, but it doesn’t filter chunks, just viruses and bacteria,” he said.
Even though only 10 students were selected for the regional competition, there were many creative inventions: Oluwatobiloba Falobi designed “The Un-poppable Tire” after seeing parents and motorists waiting on the road for help after blowing out a tire. “I thought ‘what if you could just peel off the damage and keep driving’” he said. The peelable layers are inflated in between.
Colton Kittredge built portable desk that is worn similar to a backpack, except on the front. It flips down into a small table for artists, reporters or anyone who needs to write while in the field.
Jon Neuhausel, WSMSA STEM theme coach and science teacher, has guided the students in the IC for the past six years and said that the students learn not just about science, but about the engineering process and also how to communicate with judges.