Gahanna students advance in Invention Convention competition

MARLA K. KUHLMAN
mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com
Eleanor Cole, a Blacklick Elementary School student, won one of two grand-prize Edison Awards for her invention, the Wicking Fly Sheet.

The ability to find solutions to everyday problems has earned Blacklick Elementary School and Gahanna Middle School East students a spot in the 2021 Invention Convention U.S. Nationals at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan, at a date to be announced next spring.

Eleanor Cole, a rising fifth-grader at Blacklick Elementary School, won a grand-prize Edison Award for her invention, the Wicking Fly Sheet, in the 2020 Ohio Invention Convention State Finals, presented by Honda.

Winners and honorable mentions were celebrated at the virtual awards ceremony Aug. 2.

Eleanor, 10, won a $2,500 College Savings Award provided by Ohio Tuition Trust Authority's College Advantage 529 Plan and an invitation to represent Ohio at the U.S. Nationals.

Madelyn Ohl, a rising seventh-grader at Middle School East, won the Wearables/Fashion Award for her invention, the Zip-A-Sleeve Shirt.

The 12-year-old will receive a $375 College Savings Award and an invitation to represent Ohio at the U.S. Nationals.

Wicking Fly Sheet

In her submission, Eleanor said she needed to find a faster way to dry her pony after riding or showering her.

First she researched that bacteria and mold become a problem if a pony is not completely dry before it is put back in its stall.

She was getting dressed for horseback one day and put on a lightweight athletic shirt made of a type of wicking material when the thought occurred, "Why not make a blanket for a pony that could help wick away the moisture like her shirt to speed up the drying process?"

"The holes pull moisture away and help it to evaporate faster," she said. "This is called wicking. There are little holes in the fabric."

After more research and talking to horse owners, Eleanor said, she discovered flies are a problem in the summer, so horses often wear sheets to prevent fly bites.

"I wanted to combine a blanket that speeds up the process of drying a horse, which is wicking, with a sheet that prevents fly bites, which is a fly sheet," she said. "So I invented a Wicking Fly Sheet."

Eleanor said the holes in her prototype sheet speed up the drying process and make it difficult for flies to bite a horse. Eleanor said her invention could be marketed at horse shows as a summer fly sheet.

Zip-A-Sleeve

Madelyn Ohl said she was surprised when she learned she would go to the National Invention Convention because so many students competed in the state event.

She said her idea came about because Ohio weather is constantly changing.

"One moment, it could be sunny, and five minutes later, you might have a storm," she said. "It is always annoying to carry around an extra sweatshirt or coat when you are going places or are outdoors, so I wanted a shirt that could be long-sleeved, three-quarter length, and short-sleeved all in one."

She said the shirt would help beachgoers, who would be really hot in the sun but might get colder with a breeze or after they get in the water.

Madelyn said athletes also could have this problem because it might be cold when they start practicing, but by the time they finish, they would be hot from exercising.

She said her Zip-A-Sleeve Shirt invention is a shirt that starts out with long sleeves, but has removable sections so it can have a total of five different sleeve lengths.

The sleeves zip off in two different places on each arm and have snaps that provide additional length choices.

State finals

Students in kindergarten through 12th grade from across Ohio recently participated via video submission and virtual judging in the 2020 Ohio Invention Convention State Finals.

Among the statewide winners are 35 students from the Columbus area who are eligible to compete in the 2021 U.S. Nationals.

"Educators, employers and policymakers agree that the U.S. must grow innovative thinkers and problem-solvers in order to create a sustainable future," said Robin Hilsmeier, executive director of Invention League, in a press release. "To make this dream a reality, we need competitions in youth invention and entrepreneurship to drive more programs into schools, and to excite and inspire students to invent new solutions to the world's problems."

The mission of Invention Convention is to activate STEMIE learning (science, technology, engineering and math, along with invention and entrepreneurship), to instill problem identification, problem-solving, entrepreneurship and creativity skills for life.

The Invention Convention program, provided by the Invention League, is a free, STEAM-aligned educational program aligned with Ohio's Learning Standards and National Science Standards, according to a press release announcement.

It is the only pathway for Ohio students to the Invention Convention U.S. Nationals at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla

Madelyn Ohl, a Gahanna Middle School East student, won the Wearables/Fashion Award for her invention called the Zip-A-Sleeve Shirt in the state Invention Convention contest.