Saturday, January 18, 2014

Inspiring Innovation in Chicago's Youth

When I was in elementary school in Columbus, Ohio, my school participated in the Central Ohio Invention Convention. In Kindergarten I invented my first invention, a biodegradable trash bag for diapers that would prevent my room from smelling like my younger sister's dirty diapers. I can still remember the feeling of accomplishment as my 5 year old self.
Over the next 7 years, I came up with various inventions, including the Backpack Binder, a zipper binder with straps on it, and with my invention partner, Nick, a remote that helps you find your glasses and keys and a glow in the dark car antennae accessory to help you find your car in the dark. Note: most of these inventions actually exist now! 
  As a quiet and shy elementary school student, the Invention Convention gave me a voice to express my ideas and apply my creativity and knowledge without borders. I learned to solve problems creatively, communicate clearly to adults other than my family and teachers, and experience failure and success through testing (and re-testing) my inventions. 
  Now, as a Chicagoan, I am excited to bring this program to young students in Chicago and give them the same opportunities to learn, explore, and take risks. I truly believe that with this program we are investing in the future leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs of Chicago. After a successful pilot in 2 schools in 2013, we have expanded to 10 schools in 2014 and, with the support of the amazing educators, parents, volunteers, and sponsors, are excited to continue expanding in the coming years.  I invite you to explore our website to learn more and check back often for updates! Cheers!

-Anneliese Gegenheimer, CPS Invention Convention Director