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December 19, 2017

Little Inventors at Edwards Elementary

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If you have not heard of “The Real Video Game,” a “Work-o-Tron,” the “Desk Fluffinator,” or an “Allergy Protector,” you will someday. These are some of the many inventions that third graders at Edwards Elementary have come up with as a part of a Little Inventors project.

It is another collaboration between 3rd grade Edwards teachers, and Sara Nelson, an Iowa State University College of Education professor. Nelson has collaborated with Edwards Elementary teachers a lot in the past, most recently with 3rd grade teacher Patti Allen, whose relationship goes back nearly a decade.

The catalyst for the idea came when Patti and Sara were looking for STEM education ideas, and they encountered an article about Little Inventors (, a group based out of the United Kingdom that showcases student ideas. Sara contacted the group via Skype and they have been in contact ever since.

According to their website, Little Inventors takes children’s invention ideas and makes them real. “Our aim is to inspire and support children around the world to use their wonderful imaginations to think up ingenious, fantastical, funny or perfectly practical invention ideas with no limits! The children and the Little Inventors team work with experts and professionals to turn the most innovative ideas into real objects for amazing Little Inventor exhibitions. (All children retain the copyright in their invention drawings).”

The group at Little Inventors have created free teacher materials that take children through the invention process. It encourages them to think of a way that they could make their lives better or even more fun.

In December, a couple of Edward’s Elementary students had their inventions prominently profiled on the Little Inventors website. A member of the Little Inventors team offered feedback on the student inventions and offered words of encouragement to the students.

Nelson said, “the focus is on being creative and imaginative. The next step is to look for someone that might actually make one of the inventions. We are currently checking around to see who might have interest in helping make one or two of the inventions.”

At Edwards, this was a pilot project according to Allen and Nelson, but the overwhelming excitement from students will certainly bring the project back.