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Release: Immediate

Young inventors gather March 5 in Cedar Rapids

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- More than 150 elementary, junior high and middle school students will be showcasing their inventions Wednesday, March 5 in Cedar Rapids as part of a regional round of "Invent Iowa!"

Students in the Grant Wood Area Education Agency schools will present their creations at the regional "Invention Convention" at the Five Seasons Convention Center in downtown Cedar Rapids. The public is invited to view the inventions during a one-hour session, beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Awards will be presented at 4:30 p.m. Winners advance to the state Invention Convention April 12 in Des Moines.

A not-for-profit program administered by a volunteer board of directors and The Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa College of Education, Invent Iowa! is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The program is designed to foster creativity in children in grades kindergarten through eighth grade. Students use a variety of academic skills -- including reading, library research, field research, science, technology, and others -- to identify a practical need or problem and create an invention to address it.

More than 32,000 students participate in the program annually. Through a series of local conventions, inventions are judged by independent panels. Outstanding entries are recommended to advance to regional and state competition.

EDITORS NOTE: The upcoming regional Invention Convention is part of a series of competitions leading up to the statewide Invention Convention in Des Moines on Saturday, April 12. Each regional is held by an Area Education Agency (AEA).

Here's a schedule of the regional competitions.

ELKADER (Keystone AEA): Monday, Feb. 24

BETTENDORF (Mississippi Bend AEA): Saturday, March 1

OTTUMWA (Southern Prairie AEA): Saturday, March 1

CEDAR RAPIDS (Grant Wood AEA): Wednesday, March 5

CLEAR LAKE (Northern Trails AEA): Saturday, March 15

FORT DODGE (Arrowhead AEA): Saturday, March 8

MARSHALLTOWN (AEA 6): Saturday, March 8

CEDAR FALLS (AEA 7): Monday, March 3

JOHNSTON (Heartland AEA): Saturday, March 1

COUNCIL BLUFFS (Loess Hills): Saturday, March 8

BURLINGTON (Great River AEA): Tuesday, March 18