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Totoket Valley 4th-Graders Showcase Inventions

After two years of hosting an optional Invention Convention at Totoket Valley Elementary School, all 4th-graders at TVES participated this year.

The Invention Convention is in its third year after being reinstated at , though the process was slightly different this year as the project was required of all 4th-grade students.

Carrie Seiden, Shelly Thompson and Carrie Sabetta took charge of this year’s event, which showcased 160 inventions.

“I’m always amazed by the diversity of the inventions,” said Thompson, noting the use of technology, engineering and other creative methods to solve problems or make people’s lives easier.

From the 160 inventions presented by the 4th-grade class on April 5, 10 finalists were selected to attend the State Invention Convention to be held at UConn next month. Of , two placed at the , including Ariana Esposito’s Seed Wizard (see video).

Finalists moving on to the state level–and their inventions–include Allie Cordero (Reader Tweeter), Stephen Davis (The Cane Buddy), Sally Cucinotta (The Melty), Emily Olsen (Pajama Bear), Geoff Baumgartner (Retainer Container), Julia Cassista (The Safe Multi-Dog  Tug of War), Paul Stoddard (The Auto Egg), Jack Mascari (Sewer Stopper), Alyssa Waligroski (Crumb Catcher) and Bjorn Blomgren (Quadbrella).

The state Invention Convention is the culmination of a year-long learning program designed to develop, encourage, and enhance students' critical thinking skills through invention. Every year, as many as 10,000 Kindergarten–Grade 8 students compete from across the state to attend the convention. Approximately 650 finalists are selected to go to the state convention in Storrs based on the distinctiveness and quality of their inventions.

According to a press release from the Connecticut Invention Convention (CIC), "the CIC process follows all the steps involved in inventing a product and bringing it to market. The students define a solution to an everyday problem, design and build a prototype, research the market for similar products to prove originality, track their progress in written inventor’s logs, and document everything in a detailed display board for viewing by judges. Winners from each school are selected by a team of judges comprised of local school officials, businesspeople, and volunteers."

The public and media are invited to attend the state convention at Gampel Pavilion on April 28. Opening ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. with keynote remarks; judging takes place from 10:30 a.m. until noon. The public may view the inventions from noon until the 1:30 awards ceremony. The University of Connecticut engineering faculty and students are on hand staffing Engineering Exhibits, campus tours, and other hands-on activity booths." 

For a look at some of the 4th-graders inventions and why Thompson feels projects like these are important for students, see the video.

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