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Inventing new ways to think

Teri Vance
Appeal Staff Writer

Ariana Gabriel, 8, enjoys going to Build-A-Bear workshops, but “with the price of gas nowadays,” it has been harder to get to them.

“So I’m going to invent a mechanical one,” she explained.

As part of Camp Invention this week at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School, students come up with fantasy inventions. Participants from schools throughout Carson City first identify a problem, then brainstorm solutions. As the final step, they fill out a mock patent application.

Ariana’s invention would take the labor out of making the stuffed bear and be more convenient, as she would keep it in her bedroom.

“You just tell it what you want and it makes it and dresses it,” the Carson Montessori School third-grader explained. “It has dress mode and shoe mode and decorating mode and all that.”

Privacy motivated other inventions.

Hayden Story, a Bordewich-Bray third-grader, worked on sensors to put on his top bunk.

“They’ll tell me that my brother’s been up there, and I’ll tell my mom,” he said. “My mom doesn’t want him up there either because he’s only 4 ” well, almost 4.”

Jessica Preston was inventing a sensor to put on her “special drawer” and a timer to let her know how long they’d been in the drawer.

“I have a lot of stuff in there that nobody can see and my diary,” she said. “I also have some candy for safe keeping.”

Lauren Langworthy’s invention was a special lock to keep people out of her bedroom.

The parts for the inventions are taken from old appliances and other recycled materials the students bring in from home. Although the inventions don’t actually come to fruition, teacher Laurel Dority says it’s the process that matters.

“A student came up to me this morning with a piece of something and said, “What can we make with this?'” she said. “And that’s what scientists do. That’s the kind of thinking we’re encouraging.”

Ninety-four students from schools throughout Carson City spent Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. rotating through five classes each day. This is the third year Bordewich-Bray Elementary School has hosted the camp.

“They enjoy it so much,” said Vice Principal Casey Gilles. “It’s really well-grounded in science and hands-on problem solving.”

Jessica Granat, a second-grade teacher, led the M.A.R.S. (Moving at Rocket Speed) workshop. On Thursday, the students made simulated rovers.

The level of sophistication, she said, varied greatly from the kindergarten group to the seventh-graders. And that’s what she wanted to see.

“It’s fun for me because it’s not so much me saying this is the lesson and you do it,” she said. “It’s more of me facilitating and letting them use their imaginations. They’re getting to be creative.”

– Contact reporter Teri Vance at tvance@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1272.