Today I want to introduce you to some amazing kid inventors, plus share with you loads of free STEM resources for kids and educators.
Remember to pin this so you can easily access these free STEM resources later!
Last week I had the pleasure of attending an awe-inspiring event at NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s new MakerSpace in Brooklyn. In celebration of Kid Inventors’ Day on January 17th (celebrated on Benjamin Franklin’s birthday every year), New York University Tandon School of Engineering and its Center for K12 STEM Education teamed up with 3D design software company Autodesk to showcase a lineup of some of the brightest kid inventors from around the country.
These kids are using their creativity along with technology to solve real world problems and it was amazing to hear from them!
The day started with an impressive Tinker Talks session these seven impressive kids discussed their design process and showcased unique inventions in front of a sizable group of NYU students and professors, fellow makers and media (including a few mommy bloggers – big thanks to my buddy The Mommy Factor for bringing me along).
Meet the Kid Inventors
These young inventors used Autodesk’s Tinkercad software (which is free) to design their inventions and then bring them to life through 3D printing.
Watch more here – these kid inventors were also interviewed by Good Day NY and featured on their Good Day Technology segment.
Meet Kid Inventor Jakob Sperry
It was a real pleasure to meet Jakob Sperry from Boston, Massachusetts. This young maker has loved making things for as long as he can remember.
As a sixth grader, Jakob, who has ADHD, struggled to stay focused. After trying a variety of fidget toys suggested by his teachers, he decided to invent his own.
Fidget Away with “GyRings”
Jakob invented GyRings, a fidget widget to help others, particularly those with ADHD, to stay focused. His GyRings are pretty cool I must say! And soon you might find these neat little fidget toys at a store near you — but for now, you can purchase them through Jakob’s website here. This kid isn’t only an inventor. He’s also a kidpreneur! Impressive!
Meet Kid Inventor Alexis Lewis
Alexis Lewis from North Carolina is an award-winning inventor (she won the ePals-Smithsonian Spark! Lab Invent It Challenge twice). Alexis spoke about her award-winning invention, the Bamboo Travois, a lightweight carrier made from bamboo, a net rope, and wheels.
The Bamboo Travois
Alexis invented this device to solve a world problem when she learned about how Somali families were unable to carry their hungry children to far-away refugee camps during the country’s famine in 2011.
Alexis currently holds a patent for her Bamboo Travois and it is expected to be in use by the end of this year to help transport the sick and elderly to villages with medical centers in Africa.
“Inventing… It’s Only Human”
Alexis strongly believes that kids have the solution to the world’s problems and that inventing isn’t only for geniuses. She’s a huge advocate for “Inventing 101” classes in middle school (which of course won this innovative teacher’s heart). Alexis was also an honored Maker at the White House during National Week of Making. Pretty impressive!
The Emergency Mask Pod
Alexis most recently invented the emergency mask pod, a football-shaped canister with a protective mask inside. First responders can throw this football-shaped pod into a smoke-filled building and save trapped victims from inhaling smoke as they wait to be rescued.
This invention is currently patent pending and Alexis hopes that it will soon become a real life-saving tool. Way to go Alexis!
Like Alexis, You Too Can Win a Kid Inventors’ Competition!
If your kid is interested in testing out their making skills and sharing their inventions with the rest of the world, check out these cool upcoming kid invention competitions below.
Be on the lookout because a more detailed post is coming to the blog in February. In that post I’ll tell you all about how kids can get involved this Spring.
Meet Kid Inventor Jordan Reeves
It was a real treat meeting adorable 11-year-old Jordan Reeves from Columbia, Missouri. Jordan proves that she was born just right and that kids with limb differences aren’t limited when they allow imagination and creativity to take over.
Inspired by her experiences at Camp No Limit and through her participation in the Superhero Cyborg project, Jordan designed a prosthetic attachment that functions as a glitter cannon. Yes! It shoots real glitter and lots of it!
“Project Unicorn” Sparkles
She calls her invention “Project Unicorn” and I was seriously impressed by it… because what little girl wouldn’t want to leave behind a little sparkle wherever she goes? I sure would!
But this sparkle-loving little inventor isn’t done yet! At last week’s Kid Inventor’s Day event Jordan introduced a completely new prosthetic design — the first mashup of a traditional arm and 3D printed attachments — which she created through a collaboration with her prosthetist and a designer from Autodesk. It’s pretty cool and you can read all about it here. I’m pretty sure this is not the last we will hear of Jordan!
Meet the CrEST Team
And last but not least, I had the true pleasure of speaking with a fantastic group of NYC high school students. These kids truly impressed me (and the NYC teacher in me was just jumping for joy) as they told me all about their participation in the CrEST program.
I Motivate You
The four Brooklyn’s Midwood Highschoolers discussed their process for creating their IMU device to help combat teen depression and build self-esteem in today’s youth. Their device consists of a mirror and sensor. When the sensor detects the mirror user it flashes motivational phrases across the screen to build self-esteem and remind kids of their self-worth and beauty. Genius!
Special Announcements – Center for K12 STEM Education Partners with AutoDesk
Another highlight of the day was Autodesk’s announcement that they will be working closely with the Center for K12 STEM Education to promote design curriculum in classrooms across NYC. They will be partnering on workshops for kids and educators this upcoming spring and summer.
Free STEM Resources for Kids and Educators
Autodesk is offering a wide range of free resources and software to help bring STEM into classrooms across our city and around the world. You can find some of those free resources by visiting their website here and here or giving their free Tinkercad software a try.
To find out more about how your kid can take part in NYU’s K12 STEM Education programs click here or sign up for their mailing list to receive the latest info. Also follow the Center for K12 STEM Education page on Facebook for the latest news.
The Center for K12 STEM Education recently announced that applications for educators are now open for their summer 2017 suite of three cutting edge National Science Foundation (NSF) supported professional development programs in #engineering, #robotics and #entrepreneurship at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Middle and high school teachers can apply to study and train with NYU engineering faculty and graduate students, learn techniques to integrate engineering, computer science, and technology into existing curriculum, and bring hands-on #STEM learning to classrooms.
These programs are open to New York City Department of Education teachers and administrators. If you know a NYC teacher or school administrator that might be interested, please pass on this info. 🙂
A Makerspace Like No Other
Allow me to leave you with a few images of NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s new MakerSpace which I was in complete awe of (and these photos really do it no justice). All I kept thinking during my time there was “wouldn’t it be great if all our schools had huge creative spaces like this one?”
NYU opened this Makerspace last fall. Think of it as a grand ideation lab that allows young makers to turn concepts into prototypes.
What really impressed me were the huge open work spaces and the great variety of equipment available. Something like a Makers dream come true!
As an innovative educator, I am so excited to see that NYU and companies like Autodesk are teaming up and working closely with NYC public schools to help our kids (and teachers too) learn through making. Kudos!
As a maker mom, I can only hope that my kiddo (and yours too) will take a little inspiration from these amazing kid inventors featured here today. Our kids really can change the world! I believe it! 🙂
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