Little inventors, big ideas

Jacobson Elementary fourth-grader Ella Wood shows her “Ella’s Sneezing Slippers” invention, which was awarded first place. Photos by Jon Tatting Hailey Whitledge and Kiyana Maynard, of the sixth grade, invented the “Toilet Hugger” for a more comfortable experience when nature calls. Sixth-grader Sarah Dargiewicz found a way to keep your head cool (or warm) through her “Mr. Cooling Hat” invention. Third-grader Kayden LaMont earned a second-place ribbon for her “The Clip N Catch” innovation. Fourth-graders Remi Elbert and Imagen Hackel came up with “Customizable Earrings” for those with sensitive ears who want to keep on the fashionable edge. First-grader Braden Niessen invented “Braden’s Lego Survival Case” to keep his Lego creations intact when moving from one room or place to another. “It won’t tip,” he said, noting a Velcro feature keeps his Lego platform in place inside the plastic container. He also said it protects Legos from little brothers. The third-grade team of Hailey Volk and Meghan May with their “Wishy Washy” invention, designed to keep soap dispensers in place on the counter and looking good with various decorations. Fifth-graders Madison Thayer and Victoria Campbell show their invention, “The Dog Feeder.” Designed for dogs in their kennels, one can pour water and food down the appropriate shoots and into the dog’s bowls without having to open the main door. Fifth-graders Alexis Murphy and Hailey Besta invented “The Hookanator,” which consists of a robot arm and grip that moves by remote control to pick up smaller items across the room in case you have muddy shoes. “We hope to put wheels on it and maybe even make it fly,” the girls said. Besta waits for the robotic grip from her and Murphy's “The Hookanator" invention to drop an item into her hand. From the sixth grade, Kevin Murphy and Josh Stenmo won third place for their “Remote Retriever” invention. Third-grader Natilee Carlson found a way to alleviate the irritation that comes with those scratchy tags found on wash cloths. She named her invention “The Tag-less Washcloth.” Sixth-grader Teagan Westley thought of more than one way to use a paper towel roll with her “Opinionater” invention. In addition to using the roll for its intended purpose, it also can be used to hold pins rather than having a separate pin cushion. “Tuff-Cuffs” is an invention that earned third-grader Luke Nellis a second-place ribbon.
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First-grader Braden Niessen invented “Braden’s Lego Survival Case” to keep his Lego creations intact when moving from one room or place to another. “It won’t tip,” he said, noting a Velcro feature keeps his Lego platform in place inside the plastic container. He also said it protects Legos from little brothers.

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.”