CONTACT: STEPHEN PRADARELLI
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Nov. 4, 1999
Invent Iowa 2000 organizers hope to draw more high
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Its time for Iowas
future Edisons, Bells and Curies to put on their thinking caps.
The University of Iowa will be the site of the 2000
Invent Iowa state convention Saturday, April 2, 2000, and the UIs Connie
Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and
Talent Development is hoping to get more Iowa high school students involved.
This year, more than 300 Iowa students took part in
the state convention, which was held at Iowa State University April 24. Iowa
State and the University of Iowa have agreed to alternate the site between
the two schools every year.
"High school students have been invited to Invent
Iowa in past years, but not as systematically as we wanted them to be,"
said Laurie Croft, Ph.D., the Belin-Blank Centers Invent Iowa coordinator.
"We hope to encourage them to come up with technologically sophisticated
inventions and innovations."
To that end, the Belin-Blank Center plans to send
out brochures this semester to high schools inviting them to start the process
of identifying possible participants. Croft said her office will also make
follow-up contacts with last years eighth-grade participants.
Another change next year is that third-graders will
be able to take part in the state convention for the first time. Also, if
the Area Education Agencies (AEAs) allow it, projects produced by students
in kindergarten through second grade can be evaluated and given certificates
at local meets.
In the past, the 10-year-old program has been geared
primarily toward students in fourth through eighth grades, although even younger
students have been encouraged to take part in local conventions. To reach
the state event, inventions are selected at local and regional meets sponsored
by the states 15 AEAs.
One catalyst for getting high school students more
involved in Invent Iowa is the UI College of Engineering, which began working
with the program for the first time last year. In addition to helping organize
the competition, the college next year will offer tours and other activities.
"I think the potential is for it to just be terrific,"
Students are encouraged to develop inventions or innovations
that generally meet the requirements for a patent in the United States. In
other words, they must be "new, useful and non-obvious." To make
the experience more meaningful, students are encouraged to keep journals chronicling
their inventions from concept to completion.
Past inventions have included glow-in-the-dark glasses,
an automatic toilet paper dispenser, a hooded citrus peeler and a "Cool
Stickin Schoolbox" that prevents pencils, glue and other school
supplies from shifting around when carried.
"We encourage teachers to teach a method of problem-solving
when guiding students in their projects," Croft said. "But we also
want to allow for serendipitous inventions -- the ah-ha experience.
We want kids to talk to parents, grandparents and friends and find out what
things irritate people and how to fix them."
For more information, contact Croft at (319) 335-6148
or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or visit www.uiowa.edu/~belinctr/special-events/.