When I was in elementary school, there was a contest, Invent America! (yes, with the stupid exclamation mark just like Yahoo!, only Yahoo! wasn’t around then). It was a sweet contest. The challenge: Solve a problem with an invention. My first year I came up with a table that you load up with all the plates and silverware. It was an “[Alr]eady Set Table”, no need to get the dishes from various places throughout the kitchen. The task of setting the table was eliminated. It was brilliant. And the cool part is you have to make it. So I got some wood working bonding time in with my dad.
I think that was 3rd grade. Between 4th and 5th grade I made a floating chess set with magnetic pieces (a product I later saw in a Sky Mall magazine), a trash can that attached to your belt so you could throw stuff away at any moment, a zip line for garbage bags to take your trash to the curb… I was brilliant.
I’ve been thinking I want that for the kids here, but maybe on an older scale. Imagine the same contest, but for high schoolers. And throughout the contest have people in from the patent office, or bring in a venture capitalist, or an angel, a lawyer to talk about legal ramifications/insurance, and maybe a marketing guy. Maybe hook them up with college kids who can draw their stuff up in CAD and crank it out in a CNC machine, or crank out a program that makes a sweet web site.
Maybe make it a summer program… at the library? Hmmm.