Waukesha students show off their inventive sides

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WAUKESHA (WITI) – A kid's imagination knows no boundaries, and when you challenge them to create inventions, the possibilities are endless.

That’s what students at a school in Waukesha demonstrated Thursday, March 7th.

At Waukesha STEM Academy, more than 300 students at its middle school campus showed off their inventive sides at an “Invention Convention.”

“It's called vex robotics and this is basically a robot to do a game called sack attack,” seventh-grader Bridger Crusan said.

It’s a robot that moves up and down, side to side with an arm that extends and scoops things up.

“From start to finish, they researched them.  Then they tested them with our elementary campus.  Tied it to science, technology, engineering and math, and then created them,” James Murray, Waukesha STEM Academy’s instruction resource teacher said.

From games, to computer programs and circuits, the sixth, seventh and eighth graders spent months perfecting their projects.

“You have to do many trials,” sixth-grader Cara Wendt said.

“We spent maybe three or four months on the thing,” seventh-grader Andrew Kempan said.

Kempan, Crusan and their classmate Sam Turner programmed and built the robot.  They considered themselves the underdogs, but their hard work paid off.

“We went to a high school tournament just last week.  We came in second.  We beat 19 high school teams,” Kempan said.

The goal for the “Invention Convention" was to get kids interested in the STEM fields in order to be competitive and more successful in the future.

“I want to be an engineer,” sixth-grader Julie Shoppach said.

“It puts these children in a competitive advantage 10, 20, 30 years down the road, not only when it comes to getting jobs, but when it comes to innovating in America,” Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who went to see the designs first hand said.

“I think the sky's the limit with these kiddos.  They get that. They see that,” Murray said.

This was the first “Invention Convention” at Waukesha STEM Academy.  School officials hope to make it an annual event.