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Sheyenne students show off ideas at Innovation Day

Eric Brown explains his idea on speeding data transfer to students during the Innovation Day open house Friday, for ninth- and 10th-grade students at Sheyenne High School in West Fargo. Dave Wallis

Sheyenne High School students were able to put their ideas on display during Friday morning’s Innovation Day.

Students — either from Sheyenne’s Intro to Engineering and Design class or its Family Consumer Education class — were able to show off their various innovations to the public using information boards and models they themselves created.

Most of the students are in the Intro to Engineering and Design class and have been working on this project since October.

“They came up with ideas and worked through a couple of steps in the design process, and then we gave them a few months to think about it and see if they wanted to stick with it,” CTE teacher Dave Gravdahl said. “In January, we jumped back into it pretty hard.”

The five-month process allowed the students to get a complete idea of what it takes to get an idea on the market.

“The purpose is to go through the first four steps of the design process,” Gravdahl said. “Today is step five: presentation day. They have also had to work on business plans, market studies and patent searches, and put them together in an executive summary so they can present their idea as best as they can.”

Students were able to design their ideas on the Autodesk Inventor software program, and most were able to print out miniature prototype models of their designs on the school’s 3-D printer.

“It gives them something tangible to hold on to,” Gravdahl said. “It’s nice to use our software, where we can design it and draw it, but with this we can assemble it and see that it works. That’s where we had most of the ‘a-ha’ moments, where we learned that maybe something needs to be different. We are hitting the design process hard. They are working through the steps and realizing they have to be willing to change their ideas and perceptions on the fly. Not everything went according to plan, so there was a lot of change and brainstorming to get to that endpoint.”

Some students’ ideas were specific to certain vocations — like sophomore Jay Soderholm’s design for a thermometer that attaches to the bearings of a baler — while others were practical design for everyday life — like sophomore Logan Volk’s redesigned toothpaste tube, similar to the tube of an orange sherbet push-pop with a plunger to force the toothpaste out..

“There is a lot of mess associated with a normal toothpaste tube, especially in the cap, and you can never get all of the toothpaste out of the tube, so what I did is combined some of my own ideas with the push-up orange sherbet tube. This is a simple problem that affects everyone every day. I would probably buy it.”

Others had designs specific to them as individuals, like sophomore and soccer player Brianna Kulla, who designed a leg sleeve with a silicone lining to prevent her shin guards from slipping out of place.

“I have that problem a lot, and it is really annoying,” Kulla said. “The sleeve will work like the headbands with gel that keeps your hair in place.”

The students of the Family Consumer Science class, who have been working on the project for just a few weeks, mainly had ideas pertaining to food or recycling. For example, a group created “Denim Dreams,” decorative pillows made from recycled jeans.

“The students have all been working hard, and they have done a nice job,” Gravdahl said. “It has been impressive to see some of the quiet ones who have stepped up and surprised us with some nice projects.”