Special to The Express
by Julie Walker
and Erik Todd,
Silver Lake Regional Middle School
Twenty-six Silver Lake seventh graders put on their thinking caps, joined teams led by 7th and 8th grade Technology and Engineering teachers Julie Walker and Erik Todd, thought through problems and invented solutions, participating in Project Invention Convention at Bridgewater State University on Wednesday, June 5.
Out of four teams competing, three of the Silver Lake Middle School teams won trophies, and their Strider Flow, a bicycle-powered USB charger, won first prize!
Each Invention Convention team had to research, design, and build an invention of any sort to present within ten minutes to the judges and audience.
The University provided each team a budget to spend on research and building their invention. Weekly meetings, where students planned and built their designs, were held after school at Silver Lake Regional Middle School beginning on February 4 with some extra needed meeting times as the Convention neared.
Prior to showcasing their inventions, contestants could take advantage of a continental breakfast as well as hear a guest speaker. After their presentations a luncheon was served while the judges reviewed the results.
The event culminated with awards and certificates as well as photo opportunities and gifts!
There were 10 schools represented at the Convention with a total of 17 teams, four of which were from Silver Lake. Three out of the four Silver Lake teams won awards and the students were complimented all day long! Their hard work and commitment was evident in their projects and in the way they presented their inventions.
The Invention Convention is a great way to make learning fun and exciting!
Each year the Center for Pre K–12 Education Outreach at Bridgewater State University sponsors “Project Invention Convention”, designed to give middle school students grades 5 – 8 the opportunity to explore the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and work as part of a team while enjoying the process of collaboratively creating an invention.
Team teacher leaders choose 6 – 8 students to participate; they start planning out their invention ideas that lead to building their invention prototype. Students and teachers work throughout the school year to create their invention. Each June all teams travel to Bridgewater State University and present their invention to an audience and a group of judges. This is a competition and winning teams are chosen based on several categories.
Both students and teachers benefit in many ways, including
• Team building
• Communication skills
• Writing skills
• Presentation skills
• Educational but fun
• Activities related to science, technology, engineering and math
• Stimulates interest in students
• Invention can be patented