May 25, 1998
Northshore student's invention wins award
by Deborah Stone
Lisa Heilbrunn, a sixth grader at Woodin Elementary, is a regional third place winner in the nationwide Craftsman/National Science Teachers Association Young Inventors Award Program. The contest invites fourth through sixth graders to invent a new tool or re-think an existing one. It is designed to teach students the scientific principles of how tools work and encourage them to think creatively about the world around them. The program also asks children to develop practical solutions to everyday problems.
Lisa invented the "Grip Holder" for gymnasts to use when they're doing routines on the uneven bars. Her idea came from personal experience as a gymnast at Northshore Gymnastics. "When I'm on the bars, the velcro on my grips can sometimes come undone which is dangerous," explains Lisa. "My invention is made of elastic with two clips on the end and it is adjustable for size."
It took Lisa a few weeks to achieve the final product which she then submitted. "I was surprised when a representative from Craftsman came to my class and announced that I was a third place winner," says Lisa. For her efforts, she received a $250 savings bond which she says she will most likely put towards college. Over 1600 entries were submitted from across the country. Though only a small number of ideas could be selected as finalists, Vila feels that all of the students who competed were winners because they learned that science can be fun.