The students boldly went where no one has gone before. Or at least that's the idea.
With a nod to Captain Kirk and his Starship Enterprise, Inventerprise 2005 challenged Central Oregon students this year to develop ways to make the world a better, more environmentally conscious place.
Sponsored by Bend Research Inc., a local pharmaceutical research company, the contest inspired 170 entries ranging from a way to recycle batteries to a means of capitalizing on wind power. A combination of teachers and scientists judged the contest, now in its 14th year.
The students worked on their projects over the fall, turning them in in November. The end results were everything from models to computer programs critiqued on originality, feasibility, usefulness and development of concept. The judging occurred over one evening when the students weren't present.
The middle school winners, a three-student team from Cascade Middle School, thought up a system to help forests by shrinking your newspaper. They proposed an online and telephone method for newspaper readers to select in advance which parts of the paper they want to receive at home.
Most people receive the newspaper, but few people read it all, said Trevor Hayden, 13, a seventh-grader.
”It's a great way to save a bunch of trees,” Trevor said.
Zac Stewart, 12, a seventh-grader, also worked on the newspaper project.
”None of us, I don't think, reads the entire newspaper,” Zac said.
Christina Macy, 12, was the third member of the team.
Both public and private school students from second through 12th grade participated in the competition. The students had been challenged ”to redesign an existing product so that it produces less waste or uses less energy, to invent a gadget using materials that are usually thrown away, or to invent a device that will save space and/or resources,” according to a Bend Research news release.
Summit High senior Hannah Turner and junior John O'Hollaren tied at the high school level for best entry.
Hannah, 17, proposed a law patterned after the Oregon bottle bill that would encourage the recycling of batteries. People would pay a deposit when making their battery purchase and get the money back from recycling the batteries.
”I wanted to think of something unique,” she said. ”I like law and want to go into law.”
When batteries are thrown out, their contents can soak through unlined landfills and get into the water system, she said.
The other top high school winner, John O'Hollaren, constructed a model of a heat recovery system relying on car exhaust to generate electricity.
Some of the contest entries included new uses for wasted materials, such as a desk built out of recycled cardboard and decorative items from recycled car windshields.
But Trevor, the Cascade student, isn't hoping newspapers on real paper go the way of the dinosaur.
Reading the paper entirely online isn't always all that satisfying, he said.
”Because then you have to lean over and squint,” he said.
Julia Lyon can be reached at 541-617-7831 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.