WINSLOW — Fourth-grader Adam Bickford already knows what it takes to be an inventor.
Bickford and five teammates from Winslow Elementary School built a “much more fun” watering can, with a rubber ball and toy car rolling down a chute to knock a cup of water onto a flower pot.
They recently presented their invention and won second place at the Maine State Tournament of Odyssey of the Mind, a problem-solving competition for students from across the state.
The team’s performance qualified them to compete in the world finals on May 27 in Maryland, and they are currently raising money to take the trip while practicing for the international tournament.
It all started with team brainstorming sessions several months ago, and Bickford said that’s when he learned about the being an inventor.
“It was just coming up with random ideas,” Bickford said during a team practice Monday.
Aimee Rogers, team coach, said the program gives students confidence to be creative and work as a team.
“Working together is a huge lifelong skill, and I’ve seen them come quite a long way in terms of working together,” said Rogers, whose daughter, Kirstie, is on the team.
Teams compete in different divisions based on grade levels from kindergarten to high school, and Rogers’ fourth- and fifth-graders from Winslow came in second out of 15 teams in Maine.
The teams picked from five different problems and came up with creative solutions. They presented their invention and an 8-minute skit to judges, who awarded points based on the invention and presentation style.
Students also had to solve a brand new problem during the competition to show their “spontaneous” problem-solving skills. Teams from all over the globe will be competing at the world finals, held at the University of Maryland.
Rogers’ team chose to solve the problem of building a new way to water flowers. It was based on eccentric inventor Rube Goldberg, famous for machines that have a series of elaborate obstacles, Rogers said.
The team designed the watering can invention and memorized a skit they called “As Good as Gold … berg,” according to Rogers.
Bickford said his first idea was to use a bowling pin, but he worked out the details for the chutes with his teammates.
The team spent hundreds of hours practicing for the state tournament and have started meeting again for the world finals, Rogers said.
“They’ve worked really hard and are really excited,” she said.
They are trying to raise money for the trip by collecting bottles, and holding car washes and spaghetti dinners. It will cost $750 per student for the trip, according to Rogers, and she said people can donate by calling the school at 872-1967.
There is a spaghetti dinner scheduled for Friday, April 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Winslow Elementary School. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for kids, according to Rogers.
David Robinson — 861-9287