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Inventing the Future: One Mouse Caddy at a Time

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Inventing the Future: One Mouse Caddy at a Time

Maggie Strawoet (12) and Jade Wolfe (11) stand by their table presenting their invention at one of the competitions.

Maggie Strawoet (12) and Jade Wolfe (11) stand by their table presenting their invention at one of the competitions.

Erin Martin

Maggie Strawoet (12) and Jade Wolfe (11) stand by their table presenting their invention at one of the competitions.

Erin Martin

Erin Martin

Maggie Strawoet (12) and Jade Wolfe (11) stand by their table presenting their invention at one of the competitions.

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Students from Mrs. Erin Martin’s (Faculty) classes have put their brains together to hatch up a plan for an invention. They will then compete in a competition for entrepreneurship and inventions. During these competitions, many different ideas and inventions are competed for a prize. The “Mouse Caddy” has gotten Jade Wolfe (11) and Maggie Strawoet (12) through many rounds of judges and more to come.

 

“We created the Mouse Caddy, which is a device that attaches to the backside of your laptop screen to hold your cordless mouse,” said Strawoet.

 

Their invention has been exhibited at a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Competition in New Oxford, PA. Also, Wolfe and Strawoet put together a business plan which explains its purpose and expenses of the Mouse Caddy. The business plan has gotten through the first step at Lock Haven and will be sent higher up to state-level.

 

“We started brainstorming idea for our product and beginning the planning period around the end of September,” said Wolfe. “We really started to focus on designing and building since November and have continued to work on it since then.”

 

The work that goes into this project reflects the students’ creativity and how to make their ideas come to life. Students had to not only invent their creation but also formally express it and put it into words.

 

“We have created 2 display boards, a PowerPoint, a video or commercial, and a 1,000 word paper,” said Strawoet. “We also created multiple prototypes of our Mouse Caddy out of silicon, thermoplastic, and a 3D printer.”

 

Erin Martin

 

A panel of judges then grades the invention which determines if it advances on to the next level in any of the competitions.

 

“It depends on what competition it is, but usually the judges grade us off of some type of rubric,” said Wolfe.

 

On top of impressing the judges, they also face the competition from students from other schools that compete with their inventions. It gives them a chance to see what they are competing against, and what other cool inventions are being created.

 

“My favorite I’ve seen would have to be this magic mirror a group did,” said Strawoet. “It was basically a smart mirror because it had the time and the weather and all these cool features.”

 

Putting their heads together has helped them improve and continue to get better as they attend more and more competitions to compete with their inventions.

 

“Jade and I also have been able to work very well as a team. We know our deadlines and when things need to get done, we get it done,” said Strawoet. “We have worked well together throughout these competitions. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and that is something that will help us win these competitions.”

 

By using their skills to work together and successfully present their ideas to judges, these competitions have given the students plenty of opportunities to open up and get out of their comfort zone.

 

“I’ve really learned public speaking and also problem solving,” said Wolfe.

All the way since September, Strawoet and Wolfe have perfected their prototypes and ideas, but what is the end result? What is in it for them?

 

“Prizes depend on the competition we’re going to. Some are Amazon gift cards, and some are just money,” said Strawoet. “Normally there is some type of trophy or plaque”.

 

Wolfe and Strawoet are using their skills to continue competing in various other competitions. On March 28 and 29, Wolfe and Strawoet travel to Bloomsburg and then the State College.

 

They also have the opportunity to go to Harrisburg to the State Capitol where they will just present their products and try to sell them. Wolfe and Strawoet will continue to compete with the Mouse Caddy at many other competitions in the future.

 

The Robotic Future of James Buchanan

Kiersten+Siko%2C+11%2C+displays+James+Buchanan%27s+drone+in+the+Robotics+club%27s+workshop.
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The Robotic Future of James Buchanan

Kiersten Siko, 11, displays James Buchanan's drone in the Robotics club's workshop.

Kiersten Siko, 11, displays James Buchanan's drone in the Robotics club's workshop.

Kiersten Siko, 11, displays James Buchanan's drone in the Robotics club's workshop.

Kiersten Siko, 11, displays James Buchanan's drone in the Robotics club's workshop.

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Throughout the school year academics are praised, sport teams are highlighted, and every social event is brought to attention amongst the student body. However, lying behind the scenes is a small, yet upcoming club known as the Robotics club.

The Robotics club is a growing, high-tech club where a group of seven or eight students learn how to assemble and program different robots. The robot softwares used at James Buchanan are known as Vex and Boebots. The club also treasures their own drone, which is managed by the upperclassmen.

 

The drone is the biggest project the robotics club is currently working on. It is used to capture pictures or video footage of James Buchanan’s sports complexes or of the elementary schools. Students Whitney Deshong, 12, and Kiersten Siko, 11, describe how during a typical Robotics club session they either fly the drone or mess around with the drone’s software.

 

“Right now, it [the drone] is having software issues so we’re figuring that out,” Deshong said showing how problem-solving is an important characteristic of the club.  

 

The members of the Robotics club are also gearing up to enter competitions for the drone or for their other robots in the near future.

“We are learning how to program and build the robots in anticipation of entering several competitions across the state of Pennsylvania and Maryland,” said advisor Mr. Bill Brooks, Faculty.

The Robotics Club’s drone operated by the upperclassmen   

The members of the club are already preparing for these competitions, along with preparing for the Homecoming parade. They are planning on having their homecoming parade appearance have a movie theme to correspond with the Hollywood Homecoming theme. 

 

Although a lot of work and time is put into the robots, the members of the robotics club enjoy working with technology and learning more about it.

 

“It’s a fun experience. It’s really exciting when you see something you worked on for three weeks walk three inches,” Siko said.

 

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