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Students solving problems

Close to 300 District 196 fourth and fifth graders got up early Saturday morning to show off the fruits of their inventive minds.

The annual District 196 Inventors' Fair, sponsored by the district's gifted and talented programs, is a chance for students to research and find solutions to problems they notice in their everyday lives.

This year's crop of inventions included creations with names like Tinkle Bell, Gunkless, Porta'cupholder and C.A.S. (Cats Adore Sleeping).

Some inventions are regulars at the fair. Almost every year there are inventions that relate to organizing messy lives -- this year, Rosemount Elementary School Student Alexandra Rankin submitted her Alex's School Desk Organizer and RES's Gisselle Lottin had her Sorting Self. There are inventions for grooming -- Shannon Park Elementary's Sarah Beth Marks had her Liquid Brush and RES's Karlie Schmidt and Alexandra Heimkes had their Sponge Scrubber. And there always seems to be something for cleaning up after pets -- this year it was the Poop Glove from Northview Elementary student Hannah Perendy.

Students are judged by parents, teachers and others on the research they've done, the originality of their creations and how well their inventions meet the identified need. The best inventors are encouraged to continue on to the Young Inventors Fair to be held at the end of February in St. Paul.