Detroit, Mich., July 15, 2021 – A group of Brewer Academy middle school students, their teachers, and patent attorneys and interns from Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC in Royal Oak recently teamed up to form the Inventors Club, a business-education partnership that introduced students to innovation, inventions, product development and patents.
The initiative enabled teams of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to brainstorm, develop and formally present their own unique ideas as if they were inventors seeking a patent—with direction and encouragement from the intellectual property attorneys and teachers working with their teams.
“The whole idea of the Inventors Club was to get the kids inspired to create and invent while using their STEM skills. The Howard & Howard attorneys did an amazing job introducing our students to the world of inventions and patents and then working with them to create and present their own inventions,” said Willie Wood, the principal of Brewer Academy, a K-8 school on the city’s East side.
The Brewer Academy Inventors Club included 40 middle school students, seven of their teachers and seven intellectual property attorneys and interns from Howard & Howard.
“Based on the reactions of the students, I think they learned a lot about how inventions, patents and new products come to be. It was a hands-on experience that had each team of students engaged and working collaboratively to develop some sort of invention. It was clear that everyone was having a great time while learning something new. We are excited about continuing this STEM program next year,” said Deborah Carr, a teacher at Brewer Academy.
Dan Chojnowski, an intellectual property attorney with Howard & Howard who led the Inventors Club initiative said, “Each team of student inventors met five times over the course of several weeks. Each group worked together to come up with an invention, refined it and wrote a science report on the invention, which we likened to a patent application. At our final session, the students pitched their inventions in a Shark Tank-style competition which was judged by Dr. James Holly, Jr. from Wayne State University.”
According to Chojnowski, the winning invention was a two-story “house party bus” (HPB) which included sliding seats with individual TVs, a retractable ramp to carry a motorcycle on the second floor of the bus and the ability to shoot-off marker fireworks to help DoorDash find the HPB with food deliveries.
Other student inventions included: a solar-powered car; a cell phone case with a robotic arm; a solar-powered water bottle able to communicate with a cell phone, bracelet and earbuds; a personal robot; and an advanced bed.
“I enjoyed serving as a judge of the students’ inventions and witnessing their talents on display as they used their imaginations to dream up new solutions to everyday problems,” said Holly. “From the artful depictions of their inventions to the enthusiastic descriptions to the wonderful ingenuity of the inventions themselves, the presentations were delightful and inspiring.”
As part of its sponsorship of the Inventors Club, the Henry Ford Museum will host 80 Brewer Academy students for a free museum field trip. In addition, Howard & Howard attorneys and the school will conduct an expanded version of the Inventors Club next year and are planning for its student-inventors to compete at the 2022 Invention Convention Michigan, sponsored and hosted by Henry Ford Museum. This year 205 student-inventors participated in Invention Convention Michigan with 15 of them moving on to the competition’s U.S. Nationals.
About Detroit Public Schools Community District:
Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) is Michigan’s largest public education system. It is governed by a locally elected, seven-member board with Dr. Nikolai Vitti serving as superintendent. The District’s mission is to provide every student with a beneficial and rightful educational experience, preparing students to be career and college ready, and qualified to compete in the global market. The District has more than 100 schools and educates more than 49,000 children. For more information, visit detroitk12.org and follow @detroitk12 on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
About Howard & Howard:
With a history spanning over 15 decades, Howard & Howard is a full-service law firm with a national and international practice, providing legal services to businesses and business owners. More than 160 attorneys practice out of offices in Royal Oak, Michigan; Illinois (Chicago and Peoria); Las Vegas, Nevada; and Beverly Hills, California. For more information, please visit howardandhoward.com.
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