Bright Ideas, bright futures

Luke Peterson invented a glow-in-the-dark baseball so he can play catch at night, while Josh Boen came up with an app that his swimming coach could use to communicate with her swimmers while they’re in the pool.

Both boys were competitors at the 2014 Bright Ideas Showcase and Contest held July 23 at the North Dakota State Fair.

Luke, who will be a sixth-grader at Jim Hill Middle School this fall, said he had to spray his baseball multiple times with glow-in-the-dark paint to get it to work right. The paint will wear off eventually, but Luke thinks a manufacturer can probably create a paint that would last longer.

“I’ve played with it about five times,” he said.

Josh’s iCoach app would allow the coach to use her smart phone to communicate with swimmers wearing a waterproof earpiece. The app would enable the coach to click on each swimmer’s name to communicate with them and also to record their swim times. Josh said he got the idea from his fifth-grade teacher at Edison, who is also his swimming coach.

Sam Bessette, who will be a sixth-grader at Jim Hill, hates getting styling gel on his hands so he decided to invent a brush that contains gel. That way, if he’s getting ready in the morning, he can just push a button on the brush and release a little dab of gel.

Sydney Berg, who will also be a sixth-grader at Jim Hill this fall, said she gets tired of losing all the things she needs for drum practice so she invented the “Stick to It Practice Pad.”

Sydney and her dad found a white board, upon which they super-glued a drum practice pad and a sheet to record all of her practice sessions. They used Velcro to attach the metronome and the timer and mounted hooks on the board to hold the drumsticks. This way nothing will get lost provided the young drummer can remember to put everything back in its place after the practice session is over.

Sydney said that she thinks the invention would be really easy to manufacture.

All four kids first showed their projects at a Marketplace for Kids event held last winter in Minot. Sydney said she decided to sign up for the State Fair event because she wanted to show off her invention to others and maybe inspire others to use it.

The contest was open to kids who were in grades three through middle school during the 2013-2014 school year. First-, second- and third-place prizes were awarded in categories such as business idea, invention, language arts and technology. First-place winners received $50, second-place winners received $35 and third-place winners received $25. Kids also received prizes for innovation in agriculture, innovation in energy; innovation in sports; most creative project; and best new idea. Each of these special awards was for $25. The event was sponsored by Marketplace for Kids.

Winners follow:

Grade 4 Invention: Maliah Burke, Minot, first place; Solana Gautschi and Abby Braun, both Minot, second place; Arin Oster, Minot, third place. Grade 4 Technology: Benjamin Lepp and Holden Gault, both Minot, first place; Grade 5 Technology: Josh Boen, Minot, first place; Grade 5 Business: Savannah Watterud, Williston, first place; Grade 5 Invention: Brody Toton, Bismarck, first place; Sydney Berg, Minot, second place; McKenzie Olson, Minot, third place; Grade 6 Business Idea: Trevor Bills, Becca Tschetter and Jayda Bennett, all Minot, first place; Grade 6 Invention: Kristina Brossart, Rugby, first place; Ashtyn Allard and Madison Hiatt, both Bottineau, second place; Tristen Uglem and Chase Rygg, both Northwood, third place; Innovation in Agriculture: Tristen Uglem and Chase Rygg, both Northwood; Innovation in Energy: Arin Oster, Minot; Innovation in Sports: Josh Boen, Minot; Most Creative: Josh Boen, Minot; Best New Business Idea: Kristina Brossart, Rugby.