An array of original inventions made by fifth graders at Nagoya International School were displayed at their annual Invention Convention in March, sponsored by Raytheon. Invented items included an automatic shelf, a homework reminder, and a portable desk.
The inventions were borne from a six-week technology unit within the school’s elementary program. Grade 5 students were immersed in a review of technology and its effect on societies, and kept track of their thoughts and ideas in an Invention Journal and an Idea Book. Although students would sometimes grow frustrated by their lack of ideas, teachers reminded them of Albert Einstein’s spontaneous thinking and diligent note-taking, Alexander Graham Bell’s persistence, and Bill Gates’ combination of both.
Students persisted until they found an idea, formulated a product, then built and tested it. They then spent Convention Day explaining their invention to teachers, parents, and other students.
The Grade 5 teachers have grown to love this annual project because of the wide variety of disciplines that are drawn upon. “Creating an invention is the perfect learning tool!” said one of the two Grade 5 teachers. During his speech at the opening ceremony, the other Grade 5 teacher said, “Creating an invention challenges you like no other task in school! Every student in this room can add ‘inventor’ to their profile!”
— BRIAN WEBB