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Invention Convention encourages problem solving

The Invention Convention, an annual event hosted by the Schenectady Museum draws some interesting innovations. Photo Submitted.

The Invention Convention, an annual event hosted by the Schenectady Museum draws some interesting innovations. Photo Submitted.

— Are you tired of long shoelaces getting in the way of your stroll? How about that darn mud and debris that builds up in horse shoes after a long ride? Well, some young minds are at work solving these dilemmas and more by inventing products like a shoe magnet and a lighted hoof picker as part of the Capital District Invention Convention.

More than 1,400 students in schools from Manhattan to South Glens Falls participated in this year’s convention, hosted by The Schenectady Museum. Children in grades kindergarten through eighth submitted written descriptions and diagrams of their inventions. Models of the 100 were on display at the museum through Thursday, May 24 when 25 finalists were announced at a reception there.

“The convention provides an opportunity for the students to engage in creative problem solving and experience the invention process,” said Susanne Door, the museum’s grants and annual fund coordinator.

Beth Hoffman, an education specialist with the museum said that feedback from teachers about the competition has been very positive and that many have utilized the event as part of their curriculum.

The convention started in 1998 as part of the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration through the New York State Alliance for Arts. Due to funding though, it was taken on by collaboration between General Electric and the museum ten years ago. Other areas in the state have also formed such collaborations for conventions, including The Finger Lakes, Binghamton and Buffalo.

General Electric enlists the help of more than 60 volunteers to talk with students in the schools about how the event works as well as the invention process. They also judge the entries, along with museum staff.

Louis Mazzone, a facilities electrical engineer with General Electric for 38 years has been assisting with the convention since it started and said that it is “a very successful program”.

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