Little inventors, big ideas

Rush City elementary students put their innovative talents on display during the annual Inventors Fair Friday morning, March 21.

A trio of judges, from the Rush City community, awarded first place to Jacobson Elementary fourth-grader Ella Wood for her creation, “Ella’s Sneezing Slippers.” As the title indicates, the invention involves storing tissues inside the top part of a slipper to keep someone from running to find the nearest tissue box when a sneeze is about to hit.

One of the two second-place winners was third-grader Kayden LaMont, who came up with “The Clip N Catch,” a finger or toe clipper with a built-in container that immediately catches the clippings. “It keeps the clippings from getting on the floor and cutting your feet,” she said. “It’s happened to me, and I don’t like it.”

Fellow third-grade student Luke Nellis also took home a second-place ribbon for his “Tuff-Cuffs” invention. Designed to increase the longevity of a pair of pants, it comes in different styles with an elastic feature that fits around the bottom of each leg. So if a boy were to experience a growth spurt, for instance, the “Tuff-Cuffs” will fill the gap.

The third-place winner — the sixth-grade team of Kevin Murphy and Josh Stenmo — created the “Remote Retriever” for those who are sick and tired of misplacing the remote control to their television. Equipped with a line and reel setup that attaches to any remote, it will retrieve your remote every time with a turn of the crank.

Jacobson Elementary kindergarten teachers Maureen Sybrant and Kelly Gunderson, who served as advisers to the Inventors Fair, said the kids worked on their projects after school in the days leading up the event. The process included journaling on iPads, and it was an all-volunteer event with no grade or course credit given.

“We give them structure, but otherwise it’s their own work with help from their parents,” said Sybrant, noting more girls than boys participated this year. “It takes initiative to find a problem and a solution to that problem.”

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