CAHAL and Darchei Torah get creative together


Kids have been inventing things for hundreds of years. Did you know that the popsicle, ear muffs and the trampoline were all invented by children? More than a few kids have become rich off their inventions before they even graduating from high school.

Recognizing the multiple benefits to exploring the inventive process, Yeshiva Darchei Torah hosted its annual Invention Convention for their sixth grade students on May 10. CAHAL students rose to the challenge with amazing results.

With the guidance of their teacher, Malkie Hyman, and assistant teacher, Timema Yoffe, the boys brainstormed, noting their ideas in a journal with a list of pros and cons for each.  After analyzing each option, they voted to create a “smart desk” that would make a student’s life easier.

The boys first identified the problems inherent in their current desks. The next step involved designing a desk that would address each of the problems and be practical enough to appeal to students. They decided that their invention would need to include the following features: a back massager to prevent back pain as well as provide enough sensory input to help kids stay focused(so they wouldn’t have to use annoying fidget spinners), a built-in pencil sharpener and white board, a built in iPad with apps for all their text books, a notebook app that also has the ability to record the teacher talking in the event that the student can’t get all the notes down, an app that allows the teacher to download her notes onto the iPad, a dictionary/thesaurus app and a cd card that can download everything on the iPad, so when the student gets home, he can put the cd card into his kosher computer and have all the notes and textbooks at his fingertips.

After listing all the materials needed for the desk and estimating their total cost, the class went to Lowe’s and collected all of the items that were needed. They recorded the actual prices and totaled them at the register.

Returning to yeshiva, the boys compared their estimate to the actual total, noting the difference.

With the help of Michael Blieberg, one of the student’s parents, the desk was finally constructed. The culminating activity involved recording all the steps on a display board including a written explanation of the invention process and how their “smart desk” solved all of their problems. Many participants made a special stop to see what the boys had invented. They were amazed at their accomplishment, and the students were so proud of their work. Unfortunately, the boys have not yet entered the patent and manufacturing stage, so you will have to wait a bit before it will hit the market.

CAHAL, the local yeshiva-based and sponsored community program for children with learning challenges, now in its 24th year, provides smaller, more individualized classes in the local yeshivas catering to children’s learning styles, where all the students attend mainstream activities daily. CAHAL is currently accepting students for the next semester.