Problem solved: Students exhibit inventive behavior

Lucy Pons, right, shows her invention of the pencil extender to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Susan Moreau at the Invention Convention at Mountain View School last Tuesday. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)



Bristol elementary school students convened on Tuesday, April 9, at Mountain View Elementary School for the 2019 city-wide Invention Convention.

Alan Theriault, the city-wide gifted program teacher, explained the invention convention allows students to get involved in the invention process.

“What they try to do is find an everyday problem that they notice in their life,” said Theriault, “and then what they try to do is either A) invent something that will fix that problem, or B) they can modify a current invention to fix a problem that they notice.”

Edgewood fourth grader Lucy Pons, invented the Pencil Extender as a way to cut down on wasted school materials. She used thrown out pens, which she cut in half, in order to extend the length of a pencil. During her process, she noticed that the pencils that still had erasers didn’t fit securely into the pen case, and thus she added a pencil grip to secure the two pieces together.

“When I see kids in my class throwing out small pencils I give them one of these so they can write with it,” said Pons, who also said that her classmates “think it’s cool.”

Hubbell fourth grader Lilly Martin named her invention the Super Ice Melter 2000. Martin explained she was inspired by her grandmother, who had difficulty removing ice from the windshield of her car. Martin’s invention is an ice scraper that also squirts liquid, allowing the ice to be softened before scraping.

Riley Burns, a fourth grader at South Side School, invented The Latch Can.

“The problem I was trying to solve was when you would pull a heavy garbage can out, it would rip and garbage can spill,” said Burns. “I invented The Latch Can where there’s a latch in the back and a latch in the front so when you flip it, it falls out the bottom, you can pick it up with two hands and get it to your outside garbage can.”

Kaden Paghense, a Mountain View fifth grader, invented the Locker Blocker. Paghense explained that in the event of a school shooting or other emergency state, the Locker Blocker, a section of lockers that are able to detach from the wall, could be activated and would block off hallways from a threat. The activation button would be housed inside of a classroom, so that no students or staff members would be in danger while activating the Locker Blocker.

“It’s really exciting to see these kids put together things that solve problems. And, some of them have come up with just brilliant ideas quite frankly, so, it’s just fun to see what they come up with,” said Thomas Barnes, Barnes Group board chairman, who spent time talking with each young inventor.

Barnes offered them a bit of advice: “Don’t give up. Not every idea is going to be practical or make any sense, but just keep thinking of things that you can do that will solve problems and you may hit one that could make you as rich as Bill Gates at Microsoft.”

Several students from Bristol elementary schools have advanced to the state-wide invention convention, which will be held at the University of Connecticut in Storrs in May.

Representing South Side school are Madeline Sanzone (The Hanginator 2000), Emily Walls (2 Goi Safety Belt), Riley Burns (The Latch Can), and Agatha Korba (1-2-3 Done).

Savannah Drury (Shop and Don’t Stop Glam Belt), and Lilly Martin (Super Ice Melter 2000) will represent Hubbell Elementary school.

From Ivy Drive, Josephine Kitchens (Kitchens Kutter), Anthony Paulciuskas (Super Soap), and Gavin Froslone (Squeaker Sneakers).

Representing Edgewood will be Brielle Hubbell-Majors (Immuno Mask), Lusy Pons (Pencil Extender), and Evelyn Lindsay (All in One Hairbrush).

From West Bristol school, Haley Powers (Park Type 4), Gianna Zaldivar (Pulley Pajamas), Nathan Yuschak (The Lightweight Shovel), and Isabella Rossak (Hastag).

And, from Mountain View, Kaden Paghense (the Locker Blocker), Timothy Maldanado (Cookie Quicker), Shannon Philippon (Handy Hook), Kiley Alexis (The Package Drop Box), and Shannon Ayotte (Locker Step 2000).

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