Congratulations to 6-year-old Charles Smith (Ottumwa Community School District) for his appearance on Good Morning America! Charles is a winner of our 2019 Invent Iowa competition who went on to win 1st place in his grade level at the National Invention Convention!
Charles invented the Benge Beacon, a device to help firefighters find the exits in a smoky house. See his invention in action and watch his national television debut! (Trust us, you won’t regret it.)
Charles also won $5,000 in seed money and a mentorship opportunity with entrepreneur Chelsea Hirschhorn through the SSK Kidventor $25,000 giveaway! 🤩 (Watch the announcement here: https://gma.abc/2O3XmJW)
Charles Smith (Ottumwa Community School District) won 1st place at the Kindergarten grade level for his “Benge Beacon,” a bright light to mark exits in homes to help firefighters and residents locate them more easily.
Dylan Hunt, Thomas Nugent, and Rebecca Yanacheak (8th grade, Adel-Desoto-Minburn Community School District) won a Patent Application Award for their “Eazy Shuck,” which makes shucking corn an easier and safer process.
Kelty Raap & Sadie Takes (4th grade, St. Pius X Catholic School), won an Inventor Communication Award for “Best Pitch” while presenting their “I C Safety Straw,” a straw made of ice to reduce plastic use.
A full list of national winners is available here. Congratulations to all who competed, and especially to our Iowa representatives. We are proud of your hard work and inspiring ideas!
On April 15, the Belin-Blank Center hosted the 2019 Invent Iowa State Invention Convention. It was a day full of energy and excitement as young inventors from schools across Iowa advanced from their local invention conventions to the state competition. We were pleased to see so many creative solutions to the everyday problems that students noticed in the world around them!
Our generous sponsors included McKee, Voorhees & Sease, P.L.C. and Integrated DNA Technologies. Representatives from each – Christine Lebron-Dykeman and Mark Behlke, respectively – delivered keynote presentations to inspire Iowa’s next generation of innovators. Fourth-grader Manasvi Devi Reddy from the Linn-Mar Community School District won the McKee, Voorhees & Sease, P.L.C. Agricultural Invention Award for her “Environmental Saver.” Her invention uses farming by-products to make paper, thereby reusing discarded materials and reducing the number of trees being cut down.
Inventors competed in two divisions: Kindergarten – 5th grade, and 6th – 8th grade. Winners qualified to compete next month at the National Invention Convention at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The Belin-Blank Center awarded first place winners from each division an expense-paid trip to the national competition.
Quill Orth (Lewis Central Community School District), last year’s winner of the 3rd – 5th grade division, went on to compete at the National Invention Convention, where he won the 3M Innovative Materials Award for his “Hotspot Chicken Insulating Cream,” which prevents frostbite on chickens’ combs. Quill shared his story and words of congratulations and encouragement with this year’s inventors.
2019 Winners from the Kindergarten – 5th grade division:
1st place: Kelty Raap & Sadie Takes (4th grade, St. Pius X Catholic School), for their “I C Safety Straw,” a straw made of ice to reduce plastic use.
2nd place: Luke Amaro & Lexi Geiskemper (5th grade, Alburnett Community School District), for their “Absorbo-Rocks.” These are rocks made of absorbent material that will capture excess water in fields and let it back out when the weather becomes hot and dry.
3rd place:Charles Smith (Kindergarten, Ottumwa Community School District) for his “Benge Beacon,” a bright light to mark exits in homes to help firefighters and residents locate them more easily.
Winners from the 6th – 8th grade division:
1st place: Grace Brand & Sara Schutte (6th grade, Pleasant View Community School District) for “The Noise Neutralizer,” a flashing light system to alert people when the noise level is too loud
2nd place: Dylan Hunt, Thomas Nugent, and Rebecca Yanacheak (8th grade, Adel-Desoto-Minburn Community School District) for their “Eazy Shuck,” which makes shucking corn an easier and safer process.
3rd place: Chloe Goedken & Ellie Kronlage (6th grade, St. Francis Xavier Catholic School) for “The Adjust A-Q,” a pool cue that can be adjusted in size to avoid hitting the walls around a pool table.
Congratulations to all who competed, and keep inventing, Iowa!
Please find below a list of dates-at-a-glance for this year’s Invention Conventions, as well as quick links to resources for both Invent Iowa and the National Invention Convention. All the below information is also available on our website at belinblank.org/inventiowa.
online registration opens
competition materials due
Invent Iowa Invention Convention
May 30–June 2
National Invention Convention & Entrepreneurship Expo
For your convenience, the National Invention Convention has developed a logbook that we encourage you to use to guide your students through the invention process as they prepare for Invent Iowa. If you are looking for additional classroom resources, the National Invention Convention has also developed a free online curriculum for teachers like you to use as part of their invention program. Both can be found below.
Invent Iowa, one of the premier programs of the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa, serves the needs of talented young inventors. The Invent Iowa Program encourages students to think creatively and solve problems through the invention process. Now in its 27th year, the program has celebrated the work of thousands of students in grades K-12. These novice inventors, whose inventions range from solar stock tank heater and pop can counter to devices that make life easier for those with disabilities, continue to amaze and inspire.
Twenty-four students from across Iowa will be competing for top honors at the State Invent Iowa Meritorious Scholarship Competition to be held on Saturday, April 19, from 12:30-4:20 at the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Students will present their inventions to a panel of judges, who will then interview each student and ultimately award six $500.00 College of Engineering Scholarships to the University of Iowa or Iowa State University.
Stay tuned over the next few weeks – we’ll be featuring an invention every day until the State Invent Iowa Meritorious Scholarship Competition!