Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Students + Imagination = Inventions

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Students + Imagination = Inventions

Article excerpt

Byline: Amelia A. Hart, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

Walter King, 11, thinks he has an idea for a better rat trap.

Walter's version, the Alive Rat Trap, is made of clear, thick plastic so the rat can see and smell the food inside. It's also equipped with a handle, so it's easy to carry. The trap lures rats inside and captures them without harming them, said Walter, a fifth-grader at Emma Love Hardee Elementary school in Fernandina Beach.

"You have to think how they would feel about getting killed," he said.

Walter's rat trap was just one of dozens of ingenious inventions recently created by gifted elementary students in Nassau County. They displayed their creations during the Unconventional Invention Fair May 13 at Fort Clinch State Park in Fernandina Beach.

Having the 44 gifted Nassau County elementary students take a crack at being inventors was the brainstorm of their teachers, Mary Martha Embry and Cindy Gray. Letting the kids try inventing something was a wonderful opportunity for them to expand their thinking skills and creative talents, the teachers said.

Students had to write an intention to invent, outlining why they wanted to make their invention, what it would do, and what they would need to make it. They also needed their parents' approval.

The inventions on display at the fair ran from the practical to the whimsical: A device for desalinizing salt water; a recipe for Totally Excellent Cookies; an extendable hook to pick things off the ground; a remote-control finder activated by clapping hands; a lunch bag that will reheat food; a launcher that will propel a potato approximately 200 feet in the air.

Chuck Flowers, 9, a third-grader at Bryceville Elementary School, used poster board, paint and sealed food storage bags to create Air Armor, a suit to protect kids when they're "fighting" with each other using swords or other toys.

"I liked the process," Chuck said. "I liked thinking up new ideas and ways to accomplish things."

Jena Kent, 9, a fourth-grader at Callahan Intermediate School, got the idea for her invention, the Supersonic One of a Kind Spatula, by observing a friend's grandmother. …

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