Students Think Big at Invention Convention 

Annual competition inspires student innovation

May 20, 2015

With their unique creations – everything from a Beauty Mirror to a Shoe Guard and a Reflect-o-Lite Safety Vest – more than 250 CPS students wowed judges and attendees alike at the third annual Chicago Invention Convention.

This year’s top winner was the Less Mess S’more Stick--a device to help cleanly remove marshmallows from a roasting stick. 

“It prevents marshmallows from melting on the stick after you put them over the fire,” said Skinner West 6th-grader Xander B., the creator of the winning invention. “The invention is safer and creates less mess than the traditional way of making S’mores with wooden sticks.”
A S’mores enthusiast, Xander came up with the idea during a brainstorming session with his uncle. 

“I like figuring out how things work,” he said. “My favorite subject is Science. I have a lot of ideas. When I grow up, maybe I’ll be an inventor or an engineer or a video game designer.”

As the first-place winner, Xander received a $500 scholarship and a mentoring opportunity with Imagine-it-Tech. Yanira S., a 6th-grader from DeDiego Elementary, earned second place for the Dream Recorder, while Ashley B. and Sophia H., 5th-graders at Pulaski International, took third. 

In addition to the contest, the Invention Convention included Imagination Station activities like a demo station from Mad Science, goo-making, science and innovation exploration, and fun with data. 

“With the extra push toward making Chicago a more inventive and entrepreneurial city, we really need something for younger students to cultivate their interest in innovation,” said Anneliese Gegenheimer, founder of the Chicago Invention Convention. “This convention allows students to be innovative and apply everything they’ve learned in school. I think it also empowers them to solve problems for their communities and really own their idea.” 

Xander agreed. 

“Invention Convention is great because we get to show people who we are and what’s going on in our minds,” he said. “It shows people what kids are capable of doing.”

Photo Credit: Liz Villacorta from Coach House Photography

Page Last Modified on Wednesday, May 20, 2015