STEM School Participates in Inventanooga
Posted on 11/08/2023
STEM School Participates in InventanoogaChattanooga, Tenn. - Kyle Carrasco teaches the senior capstone class at STEM School Chattanooga, where his students are tasked with identifying a real-world problem and inventing a solution for that problem. Through that process, they research a real-world problem, create a prototype, and then build a business around that prototype. The class project culminates at Inventanooga on December 13.

While originally done school wide, Carrasco explained through a partnership with UTC College of Business, Inventanooga now hosts other schools within Hamilton County and outside of the district. Students who participate go through a preliminary process of judging and present at the official competition in December.

Jim David, Principal at STEM School Chattanooga, stated, “We have found what truly excites our business partners is when students actively work on problems that foster networking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills, all of which students who participate in Inventanooga get to do. Year after year, students learn and grow through this event. This project is a shining example of our students developing STEM skills as they prepare for the workforce.”

Carrasco shared a few of the most impressive inventions he had seen through this program. One group created a teddy bear with a screen programmed to show emotion for non-verbal children. Another created an acupuncture patch to aid in menstrual cramps. Last year's winners created a food locker system that would house healthy options for those living in food deserts. “Studying these topics with my students helps me stretch my own thinking,” Carrasco stated.

Carrasco’s current students are already perfecting their prototypes to showcase for the upcoming competition. Students Jack Arnold, Michael Ramirez, Brendan Tran, and Grayson Gillard shared their process for creating a machine to help with quality control in car production. Their invention focuses on panel gaps and ensuring they have the correct sizing. As a group, these students interviewed quality control experts at Komatsu America Corporation and Volkswagen.

Another group of students, Kenique McDonald, Sasha Gatica, Yimi Pelico, and Elida Nolasco are working on a divider to create a more sustainable learning environment for students. Their goal is to help drown out background noise and aid teachers. “We wanted to relate our topic to our personal life…that’s how we found our problem statement and decided our topic.” Through a combination of acrylic paneling and programming, they hope their invention can be utilized for student success in school.

R’mani Blackwell, Mi’Angel Murphy, Hailey Patterson, and Xinke Chen, the classes’ final group, invented a lock system for schools’ doors to keep potential intruders out. They interviewed a school safety official and other real-world experts. Through these interviews and their own personal connections, they programmed a door lock that creates an impenetrable door. “We struggled a little in the beginning with coding, but I think now we’re excited about it working,” Hailey Patterson shared.

District leadership applauds these young innovators in STEM and wishes them luck in the upcoming Inventanooga on December 13. Their development of life-ready skills and overcoming challenges will serve them in their educational journey and their future beyond.