K-8 inventors invade IVC campus

Dry ice, bubbling concoctions, test tubes and beakers. It’s not the laboratory of a budding mad scientist, it’s the 21st Annual Astounding Inventions Student Invention Competition.

The event took place on Jan. 26, at Irvine Valley College in the Hart gymnasium. Here, students from both Irvine and Tustin Unified School District were chosen and will then represent themselves at the competition. Eligible students were from grades kindergarten through eighth grade.

The event was put together by Greenburg Traurig, LLP and the Irvine Valley College Foundations. All entries were homemade by the students and were later given awards in the hour-long ceremony.

Inside the gymnasium sat rows of poster boards filled with ideas and inventions from all the entries. A swarm of onlookers glanced at and studied each student’s invention to find out what they have submitted and what it does.

“Students may submit a working model or an idea of a working model,” said Dean Jennings, one of the organizers. “They are judged on originality, purpose, and function.”

The panel that judges them consisted of a wide group of people that have a vested interest in both the educational and scientific factors of the competition.

Many judges have either science or political backgrounds. One such judge on the panel was the Jerry Amante, the Mayor of Tustin.

Not all the fun was inside with the inventions though, outside the gymnasium, where all the entries are displayed for public viewing, a number of booths were set up from different organizations donating their time for the kids.

Representatives from the Discovery Science Institute, the Aerospace Corporation, Mad Science and others were there to answer questions and give demonstrations to eager kids and parents.

According to IVC’s website, kids and parents looked through solar telescopes to gaze at planets, reinact earthquake sequences, learn about rapid prototyping, and observe a water rocket stage show among many other activities.

“We have had well over 300 kids come to our booth,” said Diana Orlando, a member of the Mad Science Group. “We had slime earlier and we are about to do a dry ice show.”

The booths attracted many eager kids throughout the day, putting on many intriguing scientific experiments.

“We’re really here to inspire the kids,” said Andrew Quintero, the representative of the Aerospace Corporation booth.

Having members of different scientific based groups allowed kids to enjoy science and learn about inventions in a way that is more on their level.

All the booths were open for viewing from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. At the end the day an award ceremony was held to award the children on their accomplishments and interest. The award ceremony lasted about an hour and was filled with smiling faces and plenty of applause.

For 21 years, IVC has held the Astounding Inventions Competition to teach the kids of today that they may be the scientists and engineers of tomorrow, taking kids ideas and making them into something they can be proud of.

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