(Buffalo, N.Y.) — Imagine a room full of talented young students who could one day become the next Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla or Elon Musk.
That room was a reality at the Buffalo Museum of Science April 29 during the annual Western New York Invention Convention.
The event, which drew about 125 students, encourages those in grades K-8 to start thinking creatively and solve problems scientifically through invention.
In recent years, some of the original inventions created by students have gained attention on national television from Jimmy Fallon and Harry Connick Jr.
Merry Constantino, a member of the executive board for the Invention Convention and president of ProductLogic LLC., appeared on the Buffalo Review to discuss the event.
“Our program encourages kids to have innovative ideas and to explore them,” she said.
“They have to do research, they have to write about their idea, they have to make prototypes and they have to interview people who let the kids know whether they think it’s a valuable idea or not, just as if they are an adult inventor.”
Constantino said the Invention Convention sparks creativity in children and encourages them to participate in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.
“We have been advocates long before STEM became a popular acronym.”
She said the Kadimah Academy of Buffalo, which has long participated in the program, is a good example of how cross curricular education is used to get kids interested in STEM programs.
“They have the kids study scientists and so they use their history class to study inventors, they use their science class to study any type of technology, their art class to help build their prototypes and then their English class to help write their descriptions (of the inventions),” said Constantino.
“These kids are learning without even realizing that they’re learning, because they’re so excited that they’re researching and proving out their idea.”
If an invention is especially strong, she said, it could have the chance of being backed financially and produced as a commercial product.
Constantino said many students often come up with ideas to improve the lives of their families, especially their grandparents.
“Given the challenge, the kids are always up to it,” she said.