NEWINGTON - Professional engineers in town judged the genius of 10- to 14-year-old inventors this month.
Youths from John Wallace and Martin Kellogg middle schools presented useful products they designed at the 2019 Newington Middle School Invention Convention, held at John Wallace.
Six students were selected to advance to the Connecticut Invention Convention this spring at the University of Connecticut. Finalists will compete at nationals in Michigan at the end of May.
JWMS science teacher Jess Morin was “phenomenally proud” of her seventh- and eighth-grade classes from the school’s Academy of Aerospace & Engineering.
“All of the students who participated did an amazing job of creating their inventions and presenting to the judges,” Morin said. “We are very proud of their hard work and determination.”
Engineering professionals from PCX Aerostructures at 300 Fenn Road and GKN Aerospace at 183 Louis St. visited the school to examine and judge the inventions.
“For me, I put it in perspective of what I was doing in middle school,” PCX process engineer Steve Lewczyk said. “To see the kids’ ability to harness the technology of today and make use of it to create things is something I can’t even imagine myself doing at that age.”
PCX programmer Saban Becirovic was impressed to meet the future leaders of his industry.
“It’s a good feeling knowing what type of talent is hopefully going to be coming down the line in the next ten years or so,” he pointed out.
Moving on to the state competition this May are Brianna Marques, MKMS fifth-grader, with “The Fire Stomper”’; Paddy Brown, JWMS eighth-grader, with ‘Football Quarterback Practice Enhancer’; Trisha Iyer, JWMS eighth-grader, with “The Snap-Mag”; Eli Johnson, JWMS eighth-grader, with “DuraSleeve”; Molly Lavoie, JWMS seventh-grader, with “Get-A-Grip”; and Stephanie Lu, JWMS eighth-grader, with “Sushi Slicer.”
Students worked on their products about two hours per week in school and spent extra time on them at home. The academy wing provides them with state-of-the-art technology, tools and equipment including a 3-D printer.
“The kids put a lot of time and effort into this,” math teacher Matt Zitney said. “They started with a problem they wanted solved and ran with it. This is a nice chance for us to celebrate the great work they’re doing.”
Iyer encountered a problem while traveling that led to her creating The Snap Mag, a carrying case that keeps metal jewelry from tangling through the use of magnetic strips.
“I created the magnetic board with the 3-D printer,” she explained. “I went to India over the winter and came up with this after I got off the plane. This keeps all my necklaces separated so they don’t get jumbled up in my suitcase.”
It was a common summertime woe that inspired Johnson’s creation, The DuraSleeve.
“My brother had poison ivy on his arm and he still wanted to be active on our family’s camping trip, but regular bandages can be uncomfortable and limit how much you can move your limbs. I came up with a bandage that is comfortable and secure to fix that problem.”
Students’ presentations displayed their preliminary drawings and bullet points on the design process, from material choices to marketability. Each presented a prototype model of their product to the judges.
Spencer Peterson III’s “Electric Backpack” transports a mobile phone and charges its battery.
Alex Pushkav’s “Hard Hattaratus” is a hard hat, safety goggles and ear plugs all in one.
Ella Stair’s “Loop de Light” is a spool on which to wind up Christmas lights.
Shree Manian’s “Pet Belt 4000” combines all the supplies a dog owner might need on a single strap around their waist – a tennis ball, plastic bags, treats, phone pouch and leash hook.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.