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Release: Immediate

Young inventors gather April 18 in Des Moines for finals of UI-administered 'Invent, Iowa!'

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- More than 300 elementary, junior high and middle school students selected from throughout Iowa will showcase the inventions they have created Saturday, April 18 in Des Moines as finalists in the 11th annual "Invent, Iowa!" program.

Students will display their creations in a day-long "Invention Convention" at the Polk County Convention Center, 501 Grand Ave. The public is invited to view the displays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Awards will be presented at 3:15 p.m.

The statewide event is the final round of a series of school, district and regional competitions that began last fall with nearly 40,000 students.

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

Invent, Iowa! is 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 UI College of Education.

Debra Johnson, program coordinator for Invent Iowa! at the Belin-Blank Center, says the creativity of students in the program always surprises parents, teachers, and the public. Several students in the program have earned patents or trademarks for inventions originally displayed as part of Invent, Iowa!.

"This really is a remarkable group of students who have gone all out to use their inventive talents in ways that are interesting to them personally but also have practical implications," Johnson says.

The Belin-Blank Center was established in 1988 with support from Myron and Jacqueline Blank of Des Moines, Des Moines attorney David Belin, the UI and the state Board of Regents.


Editors note: If you are interested in localizing Invent, Iowa!'s 11th annual statewide Invention Convention through the story of a student in your Area Education Agency, contact

Scott Hauser of UI News Services, at (319) 384-0007. We will try to locate a student in your area who will be attending the convention.