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Kids Test Out Ideas During Invention Convention

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

RickDayton Rick Dayton
Rick Dayton joined KDKA in September 2009 as a morning news anchor. ...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Do you ever wonder where the products that you use every day come from?

Somebody had to come up with the great idea.

For 250 middle schoolers, today, they had a chance to go inside and become the inventor.

“All this creativity is in these children,” said Inventionland CEO George Davison. “It’s just a matter of what we do to bring it out.”

With the help of WQED-TV, they bring it out to what is called an “invention convention.”

“Invention convention is spontaneous,” said Jennifer Stancil, Director of Educational Partnerships at WQED. “It allows kids to be inventors, right now in the moment with challenges they haven’t faced. It’s real life problem solving in real time.”

Middle schoolers from around Pittsburgh compete in a half-dozen challenges – from building a shelter out of PVC pipe and trash bags that must withstand heavy winds.

“We did it so that it can keep it together more so that it doesn’t blow over easily because if these pieces get loose, it will be much easier for it to get knocked over,” said Franklin Regional Middle School student Nate Boyd.

To a zipline that carries the maximum number of Ping-Pong balls from point A to point B. Through competition they learn to be engineers.

“It really is about collaboration and especially peer networking,” Stancil said. “The way engineers work today, it’s collaborative. It’s in teams so we are simulating that in the beginning, as we are teaching kids how to be engineers.”

Invention Convention is held in the magnificent facility in RIDC Park called Inventionland.

“I thought there would be like one auditorium where you would do your pitch and that’s it,” said Haine Middle School student Aubrie Smith. “And I come here and I see this fantasy world and it’s amazing.”

“Invention Convention is spontaneous,” Stancil said. “It allows kids to be inventors, right now in the moment with challenges they haven’t faced. It’s real life problem solving in real time.”

After hours of working together, creating, building and working as a team, the kids realize that teamwork does make a difference.

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