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Invent Is A Verb – You Can Do It!

April, 2009
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Have you ever been to a fast food restaurant and ordered so much food that you struggled to carry it back to your seat? Well this is my problem and a problem for Elin Andren, a fifth grader at Shanghai Community International School (SCIS).

"When you order food at fast food restaurants you tend to get several containers on your big tray,” said Elin. “Normally, I order a drink that comes in a cup, chicken nuggets and hamburgers that both come in paper boxes. The French fries are served in a paper bag. What else do you get? You get napkins, straws, and ketchup bags. Too many containers and garbage!

"I want to change that!”

During the Invention Convention at SCIS on April 23, Elin demonstrated an “All in One Container”, which she believes to a perfect solution for overloaded trays. The food and drinks look nice and organized while neatly placed in different designated areas in the “All in One Container” prototype.

"’The All in One Container’ can solve my problem because it is neater, you can find items more easily, and my invention does not waste a lot of plastic and paper. You can also carry it with only one hand, you get more free space on the table, and it is eco-friendly,” said the girl.

Elin said she enjoyed building her invention, but at the same time it was hard. The hardest part for me was finding the right materials for her invention.

Having researched the problem by watching people at fast food restaurants and talking with her mom, she came to think of a container that was easy to carry and with enough space for a normal size order of food. At the same time it had to be constructed out of quality paper that is strong, eco-friendly and reusable.

Her inspiration came when she saw the milk containers used everyday at home and thought the same type of container would work perfectly for her invention. Two milk containers were glued together and then a hole was carved for a cap and compartments for hamburgers, French fries and chicken nuggets. The prototype also has a holder for a straw and napkin. The ketchup bag and a handle are glued on the container. A job well done!IMG_3215

To test her invention, Elin actually used the prototype in a fast food restaurant, and her “All in One Container” worked perfectly. “I was able to have a tray and tasty meal without a lot of waste on my table. I did not even need to use a tray!”

"If there was something I could change about my invention I would try to complete my assignments earlier,” said Elin. “The invention convention helped me realize that the job of an inventor is not easy. I am glad that I got to take part in the invention convention because every year I have seen different inventions that students at our school have built.”

The invention convention is indeed a good chance to see other peoples’ ideas.

Devillers Eve, another fifth grader at SCIS made an interesting invention – the "Multi-function Device” of a pencil case with a pencil, a pen, IPod, a watch, a flashlight, a compass, a mirror and a comb integrated inside. And it has no zipper so the zipper would not get stuck.

IMG_3219"I had a lot of small problems like losing my pencils, not having a watch…and my sister is scared of the dark,” explained Devillers, “My invention will help you want to do your homework and listen to music. It will also help you if you are scared of the dark with the flashlight!”

Through making her invention, Devillers said she learned a few things. First finding an invention can be really hard. It can also be really difficult to make an invention if you don’t have the correct materials. She also got to know lot of people and their great inventions at the invention convention.

A total of about 130 fifth graders from SCIS Hongqiao, Pudong and Hangzhou International School Campuses participated in the Invention Convention.

Similar to last year’s convention, there were 5 categories. Each class chose one “Kid’s Choice” Award, with 9 in total. There were 2 awards for “Most Likely to be Patented”, 2 awards for “Originality”, 2 awards for “Perseverance”, and 2 awards for Best Overall presentation.

Each award was chosen using a separate process. The Kid’s choice was a vote in each class that hopefully was based on a rubric created by the students. The Perseverance award was based on the classroom teacher’s records and anecdotes about individual student experiences through the whole process with an emphasis on overcoming difficulties, obstacles and challenges. Originality was based on the quality of uniqueness; an "invention" which is not necessary practical but is at least theoretically feasible. For these two categories, all 9 fifth grade teachers identified and visited the individual projects during the convention before making a decision.IMG_3227

Besides this, 24 invited judges came along from companies and organizations throughout Shanghai such as Corning, Disney, Volvo and Creative Greenhouse. Each was given 15 to 20 projects to discuss and evaluate for Patentability and Overall Presentation. Each judge made their top nominations and then a consensus was reached within the group.

Viking Johansson was one of the 24 invited judges, a SCIS school parent. His son also participated in the convention.

"At the Invention Convention, there are so many creative young minds, so many future inventors inside all of us,” he said. “So far, I have learnt a lot about everyday use products which have been transformed or upgraded by the kids.”

As a judge, Viking is looking more at the uniqueness of the invention, the effort the child has made, and also the thinking process the child has gone through. “It is not the final product that is important, it is the thinking process and effort behind that is more important! If they keep trying, the next time they will invent something truly amazing.”

IMG_3188At the end of the event, the winners were announced and awarded. Both designs by Elin and Devillers received the Kid’s Choice Award this year.

"I like the Convention because it showed students excited, curious, and “on the edge of their seats,” said Neil Bray, classroom teacher and chief organizer of the event. “This year’s presentations were outstanding. Adults and students alike left the convention amazed at the ingenuity of these kids. High quality projects are now the norm as opposed to the exception. This makes the judging that much tougher!”

Meanwhile, Neil sees a real standard for learning that has been demonstrated across three separate campuses. From a teaching standpoint, that in particular, was truly remarkable.

"Invent (verb)”, as it is printed on the Invention Convention T-shirts, means act now on your remarkable ideas for life! You can do it!

By Xing Yangjian

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  1. Queen Wang
    May 20th, 2009 at 00:04 | #1

    Beijing also needs a event like this!!!

  2. August 6th, 2009 at 01:59 | #2

    Just wanted to say HI. I found your blog a few days ago on Technorati and have been reading it over the past few days.

  3. August 6th, 2009 at 21:02 | #3

    Are you from San Diego?

  4. August 7th, 2009 at 15:53 | #4

    Thanks for sharing. The slogan on the one waffle is killing me.

  5. August 11th, 2009 at 00:18 | #5

    Thanks for reading! DO keep coming back, as there is so much going on at international schools.. Read my blog as well :)

  6. XRumerTest
    September 1st, 2009 at 16:47 | #6

    Hello. And Bye.

  7. September 20th, 2009 at 05:32 | #7

    In it something is and it is excellent idea. It is ready to support you.

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