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WNY Invention Convention goes virtual: Annual competition engages youth inventors


Thu, Apr 22nd 2021 05:00 pm

Take a bright spark of creativity, a wild imagination, a dash of fearlessness, and a working knowledge of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and you have the design plan for the annual WNY Invention Convention.

Open to students from kindergarten to eighth grade, the WNY Invention Convention is a learning-based competition where student-inventors are challenged to create a new product that solves a real-world problem. The goal is to build a new generation of creative inventors who meet challenges head-on and learn to apply critical thinking skill to all aspects of life.

“Children are curious by nature,” WNY Invention Convention President Merry Constantino said. “And that makes them natural innovators. The Invention Convention curriculum taps into a student’s creativity to encourage design thinking, engineering and entrepreneurship. Even our youngest students engage in novel solutions that solve a problem.”

Students in public, private and charter schools in six school districts and two homeschools will compete in this year’s virtual competition. Students will build a model of their invention and will also create a video that demonstrates it. The panel of judges comprised of local business leaders and educators will review the videos. Top scoring contestants will advance to the national virtual competition held on June 24, hosted by the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation (Dearborn, Michigan). Inventions are scored by how well they solve a problem with creativity and value in mind, along with the overall quality of their presentation.

WKBW’s Andy Parker will preside over the virtual local awards ceremony on May 14.

In 2020, a local kindergarten student, Owen Thomas of West Street Elementary School in Sanborn, was named Inventor of the Year locally and took first place for his grade at the U.S. Nationals. Four other WNY inventors were U.S. Nationals finalists in 2020.

The mission of the Invention Convention is to develop and enhance creative thinking and problem-solving skills in kindergarten through eighth grade students using invention, innovation and entrepreneurship processes. For more information, visit www.wnyinventionconvention.org.

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