What can one do to keep your pets from getting their hair all over the house?
Is there a fun way to learn to do math?
What would it take to build a greenhouse in space?
These and many other questions were answered by inventors recently as part of the Minnesota Inventors Congress, but these creative minds needed a ride from an adult just to get to the show.
Several students from across Minnesota were in Redwood Falls April 19-20 for the Minnesota Student Inventors Congress, with a group of students exhibiting their idea Friday and another group showing Saturday.
Among the Saturday ex-hibits was one from Abigail Keyport, who is a fourth grader from Virginia.
Called “Pawsitively Hair Free,” her invention ad-dressed an issue she has at home – pets who leave their hair and muddy footprints all over the house.
Keyport, who said she has several pets, including a dog, cat and rabbit, created a prototype design which pets would walk through, and as they walk brushes on either side of them would take away the hair before they enter the home. A pad underneath would also ensure cleaner paws.
“I just wanted to find a way to have less hair in the house,” said Keyport, who said the invention was part of a science class that had all of the fourth and fifth graders inventing something.
Keyport, who developed an invention for the first time, said she liked the process.
“It’s cool to come up with an idea and then to make it,” she said, adding she also liked the chance to show other people her idea.
From her school event, Keyport took her project to a regional show in Duluth where she placed first to earn a trip to the local invention exhibition.
Ella Palmer and Johnette Ostlund of Carlton are fourth graders in the same school.
“We’re actually in the same class,” said Palmer.
So, when students were given the assignment to develop an idea that solved a problem, they decided to work together.
What they invented was a game they call “Math-o-rama,” which helps those who are struggling with math to learn in a different way.
“We know there are kids who have problems learning math,” said Ostlund. “Our game helps them learn and have fun, too.”
The game challenges a student’s basic understanding of math skills, especially multiplication.
While it may be geared to those who do not grasp all of the concepts, anyone who wants to practice their math skills would benefit from playing it, too, said Palmer.
Page 2 of 2 - Palmer and Ostlund said they love math.
“It’s just something that seems fun in my brain,” said Palmer.
Ostlund added she really likes working with numbers.
“In any job you are going to need to know math,” said Ostlund.
The two friends qualified to take their invention to a regional contest in Duluth where they then qualified to attend the student inventors congress in Redwood Falls. Both said they really enjoyed inventing, especially when they know what they are creating might help someone else.
For Andrew Aker-man, the idea for his invention began with a personal interest.
“I want to be an astronaut,” said the Maple Grove sixth grader. “I really like learning about space.”
Akerman said he learned many of the space missions have been cut short, because the astronauts run out of food. His idea, called “Plants in Space” would address that.
“I designed a greenhouse that could be used in space,” said Akerman, adding the greenhouse uses air and water to ensure the plants being grown have what they need.
“The space station could dock onto it and then have all the fresh food they would need,” said, adding he re-searched what kind of material would be needed to build the greenhouse, including the same type of window material used on the space shuttles.
Akerman said his idea was developed as a science project when the class studied a unit on inventing.
“I really like solving a problem,” Akerman said when asked what he liked about the inventing process.
Keyport, Ostlund, Palmer and Akerman said they were having fun and hoped to come up with another idea for next year.
Perhaps some day in the future they could return with an invention for the MIC and be able to drive it there themselves.