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Peter Woodbury Principal Ken Williams takes a look at the invention of fourth-grader Jasmeet Kaur, who won for her invention Flexible Box – or FLOX – at the Invention Convention held March 6. (Harry Kozlowski Photo))

Bedford students get in touch with their inventive selves

BEDFORD - No one knows when or where the next Thomas Edison or Dean Kamen will come from, but an innovative teaching program for Bedford?s third- and fourth-graders is helping to nurture the next generation of inventors.

The Invention Convention, part of the Young Inventors program, took place Wednesday, March 6, at all three Bedford elementary schools. It was the culmination of a six-week study of inventors and the process of invention. Students had to design, develop and present their own inventions in a variety of categories. Winning students will get to compete in a regional convention in Penacook later this year.

Kris Possee, a teacher at Peter Woodbury School, has been involved in the Young Inventors program since it began in 2005.

?We feel it?s really important for students to develop those higher level thinking skills,? said Possee.

Along with developing higher-level thinking skills such as logical reasoning, creative problem solving and communication, students in the Young Inventors program have the opportunity to apply the scientific method to real-life experiences. They also practice public speaking andPwriting skills.

The program was developed in New Hampshire by the Academy of Applied Science in Concord, and more than 5,000 students participate at more than 600 schools in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Nevada. According to the AAP website, the program?s goal includes ?...incorporating the invention process – creativity and problem solving – into the classroom.?

A few students who have participated in the Young Inventors program have even patented their invention ideas.

Student inventions are judged in several categories.

?Every year there is a special category. This year it was called ?Beat the Heat,? said Possee. ?Anything that students could invent that would keep themselves cool, or something else cool.?

A winner is selected in that special theme category. There is also an original invention category winner, and one from a category called ?Rube Goldberg,? an invention that features a complex method to complete a simple task.

As a teacher, Possee said it?s gratifying to see the end result. She shared her feelings walking into the convention. ?Oh my gosh, this is magical!?

The program is made possible with support from Fidelity Investments.

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