Photo Gallery | Village School hosts invention convention
NORTH BENNINGTON — The Village School of North Bennington was filled with the sounds of science and creativity on Thursday afternoon, as students rehearsed their presentations for the evening's Invention Convention.
The program, designed to foster creativity, teamwork, and an interest in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), saw each class, over the last few weeks, work on completely different projects tied to the other things they were learning. For example, the fourth-grade class not only had to design and build their inventions, such as waterproof socks (coated with beeswax), magnetic gloves, a tabletop music stand, and an unmovable mat (for those pesky toddlers), but market them as well. The third grade was learning about natural disasters, so they worked in groups to design early-warning systems for tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires, blizzards, and even volcanoes.
In the second- and sixth-grade classrooms, students worked to solve engineering puzzles. The sixth graders were given 25 straws and a yard of tape, and were tasked with designing a structure that could hold a series of balls. The second grade worked on a number of different projects, including trying to get two sides of a ruler, which hung between two chairs, to balance and hang level.
The largest invention belonged to the entire kindergarten class, which made a large slide that used gravity to send a ball from one side of the classroom to the other. Kindergarten director Lorine Elwell said that kindergartners are naturally curious, so they are drawn toward STEM projects where they can show off their creativity while learning.
The third grade put their creativity on display as well, working with the Vermont Arts Exchange to create signs to show people around the building. They used a wood burner, a sander, and saws to make the signs, which included pictures for younger students who haven't yet learned to read.
Parents were able to see all of the sights and presentations on Thursday night when the school opened its door for the official Convention. Kathleen Backus, third-grade teacher, said this is the first year in her 15 years that they have had a school-wide Invention Convention, but she hoped it would not be the last, praising the project for giving students the chance to work together and develop their math and science skills.