Third-graders turn entrepreneurs

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Dec 25, 2011 InventureWorks (1)

“An entrepreneur project has local third-graders dreaming of turning their inventions into the next great Michigan-made product.

The Foster Elementary School third graders in Betsy Dodson’s social studies class were given an assignment to come up with an idea for a Michigan-made product, create the product and then market it via newspaper ads, television commercials, flyers or even billboards.


The assignment is part of the third-grade curriculum, which includes information about Michigan’s history, economy and geography.


Students began working on the assignment in early December. This week they have been presenting their products in class in front of their peers.


One of the products is a machine that would help Michigan’s apple industry by sorting apples and rejecting those that contained a worm. The good apple would be sold at market while the rejected apples would be fed to livestock or composted. Avah Anthes’ invention was one close to her heart, for dogs. The Smelldanna, a bandanna, would mask the smell of wet dog.


“My dogs would come in from the outside and if it rained they would smell like wet dog or be muddy,” she said.


Anthes puts the cost of the Smelldanna at about $20, dropping if it were to become widely distributed. Jonas VandenHeuvel was tired of being able to enjoy s’mores — the chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker treat — only during the summer months, so he invented the S’moreinator. The machine has two heating rods that hold and warm a marshmallow. His invention runs on a battery and costs about $6, he said. The S’moreinator would be available in any outdoor store in Michigan.


“You can use this machine in any weather and wouldn’t have to worry about sticky fingers,” he said of his invention.


Cydney Schmock came up with the idea of adding skis to shopping carts to allow customers the ease of pushing their cart through the snow.


Many of inventions showed creativity and knowledge of Michigan’s history and culture that may lead to a future Henry Ford or William Potts-type entrepreneur.


“It has been fun to see some of the inventions the kids have come up with, to see them through the eyes of a 9-year-old,” Dodson said. “These are things that I would buy.”


– Jeff Kiessel – Ludington Daily news

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