Young Student Inventors Honored at Convention Sponsored by Chicago Innovation – NBC Chicago
The Illinois Student Invention Convention asks students to find a problem with something they are passionate about, then solve it, and a group of inquisitive students did just that.
Eighth graders Leslie Aguilar and Ikeoluwani Apata, who attend Lincoln Elementary School in Calumet City, picked bike riding, and a common obstacle: the weather.
“You can’t ride your bike in the rain, because you would get wet and sick too. So we solved that,,” explains Aguilar.
Aguilar and Apata had to design a prototype to solve the problem. They call it Motor Cape.
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“Our first prototype wasn’t as strong as this one, so we thought of stronger materials to protect the rider and the bike,” says Apata.
So, they went back to the drawing board.
“We wanted it to be completely clear, so it wouldn’t interfere with your vision when you’re outside. We wanted you to be able to turn around and be able to see people and cars behind you,” Aguilar said.
Every year, the non-profit Chicago Innovation holds The Illinois Student Invention Convention for K-through-8 students to show off their work. They provide resources and curriculum to schools around the city. This year, 34 projects, including Motor Cape, will be entered in the national competion next month.
“This program really helps a lot of kids believe in themselves, to know that they can actually try something and do it, says Lincoln Elementary School teacher Sahar Alkhatib.
Last year, she attended the competition, and enrolled her math students this year. Out of her 43 projects, only eight made it to the citywide competition, and Motor Cape was the only one advancing to the national competition.
Nicole Prahin Rodriguez, program manager of Chicago Innovation’s Illinois Student Invention Convention, says “Chicago Innovation’s mission is to educate connect and celebrate innovators, but we know that we have to engage our students at a really young age, and have them see themselves as problem solvers. Problem finders and problem finders, and that’s what the program aims to do.”
Chicago Innovation is inviting schools, libraries, after school programs in Illinois to sign up for one of their free training over the summer , so next fall, even more students can participate.