Originally published 12:00 a.m., July 6, 2012
Updated 04:31 p.m., July 6, 2012
By ABBY SLANKER
Fifth-grade students at Canfield Village Middle School put on their thinking caps as they created an invention to present and ‘sell’ at the school’s annual Invention Convention June 1.
Amanda Zion, Michelle Head and Valerie Weingart, the three fifth-grade science teachers, were teaching a unit on inventions and technology when they divided the students into groups and assigned each group to come up with their own invention.
The students worked on the project for three to four weeks at school and kept an inventors notebook throughout the process. They brought in materials from home and were required to calculate what they spent on each material to come up with the ‘retail cost’ of their product.
“For example, if they bought 10 yards of duct tape and only used 2 yards of it, they needed to use their math skills to figure out how much they spent on those 2 yards and incorporate that in the final cost of their product,” Zion explained.
The students invited family and friends to the convention so they could inspect the inventions and decide if they wanted to ‘buy’ them for themselves. As they entered the convention, visitors were issued seven ‘checks’ they could fill out if they wanted to ‘buy’ an item. They were asked to consider the following criteria: uniqueness, usefulness, cost and marketing strategies.
The students were responsible for marketing their invention and pitching their product to their audience. Each group had a space with a display board with their company name, invention name and any other important information pertaining to their invention. Several groups also handed out business cards they made.
“We told them it’s possible they might not have the best invention in the room, but if they marketed it well and really sold it to their ‘customers’ they could be a top vote getting group. A lot of it depended on their marketing strategy,” Zion said.
Each ‘check’ was counted as a vote, with the top three vote getting groups in each class being recognized.
According to Zion, Head and Weingart, the school has held the fifth-grade Invention Convention for the past 12 years.