Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Inspired inventions

Molly Shore

Want to know how to build a better mousetrap? Just ask the fourth-

and fifth-graders at Jefferson Elementary School, who submitted their

entries Thursday in the school’s annual Invention Convention.


Many of the devices the children built were for use in pet care or

for home use, but fifth-grader Haley Luciani’s entry was different.

The concept was simple: a yellow sign showing two senior citizens

crossing the street with the wording “Senior-Xing.”


“It can be dangerous if elderly people are crossing the street

without any help,” Haley told the judges.

She suggested the signs be placed near senior centers or

convalescent homes.

School board member Connie Lackey, who was one of the judges, was

impressed with the idea.

“We have signs for everything else,” she said, “why not a

senior-citizen crossing?”


Haley’s invention also caught the attention of another judge --

Councilwoman Marsha Ramos, who said she could think of places where

the sign would come in handy, mentioning the Joslyn Adult Center.

“I’m going to bring this up to our traffic engineers,” Ramos told


When the judging was completed, the fifth-grade winner was Haley,

and the fourth-grade winner was Isabel Navarro, whose invention was

something new moms could appreciate.


Isabel created the Bottom Up Diaper Rescue Kit to be dispensed

from a vending machine.

“This way,” Isabel said, "[moms] won’t have to remember to bring a

diaper; they can just buy one in a restroom.”

The kit contained a disposable diaper, a paper sheet to cover the

changing area, a packet of ointment and a wet wipe.

Parents can discuss project ideas with their children, but the

students do all their own work, said Cynthia Faust, the school’s

curriculum specialist and event coordinator.

“What I especially like about Invention Convention is that it is

highly creative and requires a lot of research,” Faust said.