Local kids show ideas at the fair

North Dakota children showed off their bright ideas during the Marketplace for Kids Bright Ideas Showcase Wednesday at the North Dakota State Fair.

There were close to 30 projects entered by the fourth- through sixth-graders, all of whom were competing for cash awards. Kids came up with different ideas for inventions, which they explained in a journal and with a display presentation.

Bradyn Lenning, who will be a sixth-grader this fall at Plaza Elementary School, invented an electric de-icer that he said could be used to remove ice from power lines in the winter.

“The power goes out at my house a lot from the ice being on the lines,” said Bradyn, whose dad helped him with the idea. Bradyn said it’s also dangerous for crews who must go out to de-ice the power lines during an ice storm. His invention, which he said could be hoisted to the power lines with a truck, would attach to the power lines and could be operated by remote control. He also came up with a cost assessment for how much it might cost to manufacture the de-icer.

Unlike some of the other kids, Bradyn wasn’t required to do a Marketplace for Kids invention for school last year. He said he came up with the idea just in time for the State Fair contest when he realized there was still time to enter.

“I already have an idea for next year,” said Bradyn, who hopes to become an engineer when he grows up, but he said he doesn’t want to give away the secret.

Tyler Hills, who will be a fifth-grader at Lewis and Clark Elementary in Minot this fall, created the “Easy Keys” invention for this year’s Marketplace for Kids showcase in Minot. His invention is a device that will fit over keys and will light up with different colors when they are pressed, making it easier to distinguish which key is which. Tyler came up with the idea when his dad lost his keys at the store one day.

Payton Howard, who was a fifth-grader at Edison Elementary this year and will be attending Jim Hill Middle School in the fall, came up with “The Hoof Spa,” an invention that will make it easier to buff a horse’s hooves. She said the wooden device with sandpaper on it could be attached to a drill. Payton said she would probably do a few things differently if it were ever manufactured.

Margaret Huettl, who was a fifth-grader at Edison Elementary this year and will also be a sixth-grader at Jim Hill this fall, came up with the idea for “Hearts for Heroes” when her uncle retired from the military after 20 years. Margaret sewed miniature heart pillows that could be given to veterans to show appreciation for their service.

Kids could enter different categories. The invention could be a working model, a project that students have produced a scaled model or sample of the invention that really works, in addition to accomplishing the stated goal. They could also present a “non-working model” of an invention that would be too large, expensive or technical to build. Some could enter a “crazy contraption,” or a an invention which takes an idea already in existence and improves upon it. Others could submit a game, which could be either a computer game or board game or sports/athletic activity invented by the student. Jules Verne! entries are fanciful inventions that are judged solely on how imaginative they are.

Cash prizes were given for the first, second and third place in different age groups in different categories. Special awards were also given. The inventions were judged by judges from SCORE.

Marilyn Kipp, director of the event, said that the Marketplace for Kids Bright Ideas Showcase has been held for four years at the fair. Past winners have gone on to actually manufacture their inventions. A winner from Fargo now has four patents and a winner from Jamestown is manufacturing the invention. Kipp said that the office will put parents and kids in touch with a patent attorney who can help them take the invention to the next level.