Comanche Sixth-Graders Turn Inventing into an Art

Comanche Sixth-Graders Turn Inventing into an Art
Shawnee Mission School District

Groups of creative Comanche Buffaloes have been working together to come up with ways to make life a little easier for everyone.

During art class, sixth graders were asked to identify a problem and make an invention that could address the problem. While it may seem unconventional to work on an invention project in art class, art teacher Teresa McIntire shared it perfectly helped teach state standards and a key lesson she tries to teach all of her students in art class: To think outside of the box. It is a skill that is important for artists and for students as they prepare for college and career, McIntire noted. 

“They came up with their invention ideas on their own which is hard to do,” she added. “They had to overcome obstacles and I think they will be proud of themselves.”

Having endured a broken bone, sixth-grader Jeyla Rosa knew she wanted to create an invention that could help someone relieve an itch while wearing a cast or brace. She and her team members came up with the “Cast Scratcher.” Following classroom instructions, they researched product costs, wrote instructions for using the invention, and even conducted market research. When they polled 25 peers at school, 18 said they would use a product like this. The team also created a prototype using two bendable rulers, tape, batteries, and an electric toothbrush, which added a massage feature.

Students came up with inventions for all kinds of problems. Want to make breakfast a little easier? Try a toaster that melts butter as it cooks bread. Want to simplify hair dying? Try a spray bottle that assists in the coloring process.

One group created an “ultimate wallet,” featuring a pencil, sticky notes, a calculator, clock, and a string so it can convert into a purse. The team of students said they tried to include the items they use the most and predict the wallet would be used by anyone from “lumberjacks to architects.”

The most fun part of the project was “building the wallet and designing it,” Jonah Oliver, sixth grader explained.

Another team created a crutch with a resting feature that allows individuals to sit down when needed. Creating the prototype took multiple tries, using a variety of materials.

“We were relieved and happy when we found something that worked because it took so many tries,” Miranda Ortiz, sixth grader expressed.

The most rewarding part was coming up with an idea that could possibly benefit society, members of the team noted.

“It makes you feel good inside knowing the invention could help a lot of people,” Dayana Rosales-Velazquez, sixth grader stated.

This spring, community members will be able to see what they came up with at the Research and Development Forum (R&D Forum) from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 2 at Shawnee Mission West High School, 8800 W. 85th Street. Join the celebration of this districtwide student showcase by attending and using the hashtag #SMSDRandD