Each spring we host our Annual AVS Invention Convention. In the weeks leading up to the convention, our students are challenged to "solve" a problem. Students have already explored simple and compound machines and learned how they are designed to make work easier. The challenge of the Invention Convention contradicts this understanding. Instead of creating the easiest, most practical solution to complete a simple task, students are charged with complicating the solution -- using their creativity to fabricate unnecessary steps and employing multiple simple machines they design and construct for the purpose of uniquely achieving the goal.
All of our students - from youngest to oldest - participate. We simply add an additional step requirement for each class year.
There is great suspense during the Invention Convention as the audience anxiously waits to see whether each complicated invention will succeed - and immense glee when it does!
In 2011, our Alta Vista students created devices to collect lint. Here are a couple of the Kindergarteners' designed inventions: