Young inventors show off creations at Lebanon Elementary School

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Lebanon - posted Tue., Apr. 16, 2013
Lebanon Elementary School fourth-grader Hannah Christiansen shows off her invention, 'The Time Light,' at the school's Invention Convention on April 12. Courtesy photos. - Contributed Photo

Hannah Christiansen’s dad works for a heating company. He keeps his flashlights in his bag, said the Lebanon Elementary School fourth-grader, “and they were always turning on by themselves.” So, as Christiansen began thinking about her school’s annual Invention Convention competition, she set out to solve the problem of the unruly flashlights. Her “Time Light,” which she displayed on April 10 in the school gymnasium, features a built-in timer that shuts off a flashlight automatically. “So when the timer goes on the flashlight goes on, and when it goes off the light goes off,” she explained. “It saves money because you don’t have to keep buying batteries and bulbs,” said Christiansen.

Christiansen said that she and her dad worked on the “Time Light” together. “I’m the one that built it technically,” she said, while admitting that her dad helped with the drilling and the soldering.

Christiansen said the “Time Light” had worked well during testing in her basement at home, and that she planned to try it out during the area’s next power outage. Would she make any improvements? The existing light only stays on for five-minute increments, said Christiansen. “I would like it to do one minute and three minutes,” she said.

Third-grader Joshua Person loves to swing on a rope from the tree house in his back yard. His problem was getting the rope up to the tree house. “I can’t climb the tree and carry the rope at the same time,” he said. So, Person combined an extension pole with a bike hook to come up with the “J Hook.” Now, he can safely climb the tree and then snag the rope with his new invention. His booth at the Invention Convention featured an iPad with a video displaying the “J Hook” in use. “It’s really fun,” said Person with a grin, as he watched his video image swing through the air.

Second-grader Shane Baran said that, between the two of them, he and his brother have “a lot” of Nintendo DS games. Their problem was that they didn’t have a suitable place to store all of their game components. “I thought about it when I lost one of my games,” said Baran, showing off his invention, the “DSC.” The “DSC” is a large box, with compartments for the DS console itself, the charger, and a separate, large compartment for the game cartridges. “When you buy a holder at the store, it doesn’t have a place for your charger,” he explained. The “DSC” was constructed of a cigar box and cardboard, and covered in fluorescent green Duck Tape for visibility. “If I’d made it black, it would have been gone in three days,” explained Baran. Asked whether he’d thought of any improvements for the “DSC,” Baran said that after using it for two weeks, “I like it the way it is.”

Second-grader Danielle Barrett is a big fan of marbles. She has them in all shapes, sizes and colors. “Santa keeps giving me marbles every year, and my mom gives them to me for my birthday," she said. Barrett said that she likes to play with her marbles, “at least five times a day,” but that cleanup can be a problem. Her invention, "Runaway Marbles," is made out of cardboard, bottle caps, Plexiglas and toilet paper tubes. It sorts marbles into size grades automatically. “It makes cleaning them up so much easier,” said Barrett.

The Lebanon Elementary School Invention Convention featured 68 different inventions from children in first through fifth grades. For information about the state Invention Convention program, go to

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