A fifth grade student’s car seat safety kit was the grand prize winner at the 27th annual Oklahoma Student Inventors Exposition held March 1 at Rose State College’s Hudiburg Chevrolet Center.
Inspired by an article on the difficulty of treating minors in motor vehicle accidents due to a lack of personal information such as blood type or allergies, Tobias Acree of Poteau Upper Elementary School designed his Child Seat Safety In Case of Emergency Kit with a harness pocket that can contain any relevant emergency information.
“Through observation I have noticed that Tobias is an out-of-the-box thinker. We encourage this type of thinking in our classrooms, and he has demonstrated this through his award winning invention,” said Erich Sweet, sponsor of Poteau’s Gifted and Talented Education Class.
The event had nearly 500 people in attendance and featured projects from more than 170 students from around the state, a far cry from the approximately 30 students the event featured in its early years.
“We have had great success with the Oklahoma Student Inventors for the past 27 years, as teachers and students continue to show tremendous interest in it,” said RSC Regent Betty J.C. Wright.
The convention began as a local affair in 1988 at Oklahoma City Community College as the brainchild of inventor Julian Taylor and Regent Wright, a fourth grade teacher at the time. In 1991, the event was officially recognized by the state and opened to students grades 1-12 throughout the state.
“The OK Student Inventors Expo is not a program where students just create and show inventions. The program involves the teaching of creative thinking and problem-solving skills in all areas of the curriculum,” Wright said.
With more than 2,500 students participating in local contests and events to be eligible for participation in the convention, the event has served to not only encourage students but also schools to invest more in their science programs.
“Our teachers are working to increase the use of innovative teaching methods that include a strong emphasis on technology and project-based instruction, as well as emphasizing science and its link to other subjects,” said Bobbi Gilham, principal at Poteau Upper Elementary.
For more information on the program or how to become involved, contact Wright at email@example.com.