HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL — A hands-free refrigerator door opener is just one of the inventions created by 36 second through eighth graders, who are being honored by the 2002 Craftsman/NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) Young Inventors Awards Program. The award-winning ideas were selected from entries submitted by more than 4,300 schoolchildren across the country.

“I'm always amazed at the clever ideas percolating in the minds of kids,” stated Bob Vila, home-improvement expert and spokesperson for the program. “They love to look at a problem and create a solution — and the Craftsman/NSTA Young Inventors Awards Program gives them that opportunity. That’s one reason a thousand more youngsters entered this year than last year.”

Sponsored by Sears Craftsman tools and the NSTA, the program, which is in its sixth year in classrooms across America, is designed to teach students the scientific principles of how tools operate; introduce them to working with hand tools; encourage them to think creatively about the world around them; and enable them to develop practical solutions to everyday problems.

Children’s entries are judged in two grade categories: second through fifth and sixth through eighth. Each of the two grade categories includes awards for six national finalists, six second-place regional winners, and six third-place regional winners. Awards range from $250 to $5,000 U.S. savings bonds.

Publication date: 05/06/2002