Young inventors in 89 teams from all over Georgia addressed real-world problems
Mar 29, 2018 | Atlanta, GA - Georgia Tech Student Center Ballroom
On March 14, 2018, Georgia Tech hosted the K-12 InVenture Prize for the fifth year. The competition is modeled after the Georgia Tech InVenture Prize. It encourages elementary, middle school, and high school students to engage with invention and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts. The mission is to develop the next generation of engineers and entrepreneurs by making invention education accessible to all students and teachers across the state of Georgia.
To prepare for the competition, students are encouraged to immerse themselves in the engineering design process by identifying real-world problems and designing solutions that consider essential aspects of invention and design – such as ethical issues, environmental sustainability, and marketability. Student teams first compete within their schools before advancing to the Georgia Tech event. Industry experts and Georgia Tech faculty judge the inventors and their inventions according to practicality, knowledge base, design-based thinking, creativity, marketability, social responsibility, enthusiasm and communication, and manufacturing.
Jasmine Patel, Educational Outreach Coordinator at CEISMC, says inviting members of Georgia Tech faculty and the business community to engage with the young competitors makes a big impact on participants. “It gives the students a more meaningful experience,” Patel said, “because the feedback is not just from their classmates or their teachers; it’s from someone outside of whom they normally see every day. It feels more real to them.”
Roxanne Moore, Director of the K-12 InVenture Prize, added: “Whether they win or not, the students are given very valuable feedback. It is really empowering having somebody who is an adult and who is successful in business tell you that your idea is a good one.”
More than 4,000 students from 22 Georgia counties participate in the K-12 InVenture Prize. In 2018, the program established a K-2 division to accommodate the growing participation among students in these grades. Eighty-nine teams advanced from school competitions to the K-12 InVenture Prize at Georgia Tech, where many young inventors enthusiastically shared their plans to continue pursuing STEM education.
Young inventors Haleigh Bagwell and Reese McCarthy from Kelly Mill Elementary School voiced excitement for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). “We have a class for gifted students every Thursday where we do different STEAM challenges,” Bagwell said. “Thursdays are always exciting because we have fun new projects to do.”
“STEAM is important to us because we learn the four Cs – creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking,” McCarthy said. “The four Cs are important because they help us think outside the box when we’re trying to solve our different challenges at school.” McCarthy said.
Bagwell and McCarthy applied those concepts to their invention, “Butter Butter Butter,” a device that distributes butter evenly through tubs of popcorn.
Meanwhile, Hana Awad from Meadowcreek High School drew upon her coding skills – developed from interships – to create her invention. “Linx” is a home security app for people who cannot afford expensive security systems. “This project got me really interested in mobile app design,” Awad said. “I would like to pursue the field as a possible eventual career.”
Like Awad, Isabella Parker from Harrison High School also has long-term STEM goals. Parker invented “A Kinesthetic Approach to Muscle Memory.” It is a device to help individuals with dysgraphia – the inability to write coherently – and children who are learning how to write. “From a very young age I decided that I wanted to be a doctor, so I’m currently following the biomedical engineering track at Harrison,” Parker said. “I’m hoping to study biomedical engineering here at Georgia Tech.”
Parker’s invention won second place in the high school division. She and the other K-12 InVenture Prize winners will qualify to represent the state of Georgia at the National Invention Convention & Entrepreneurship Expo (NICEE) later this year.
By: Rosemary Pitrone - CEISMC Communications