A cardboard-and-pipecleaner "cat trap" helped Cave Creek students understand the concept of intellectual property rights during a visit Tuesday by a federal Commerce Department official.
Payton Bucher, 8, and other young inventors at Lone Mountain Elementary School built the trap as part of Camp Invention, a weeklong summer program cosponsored by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office and the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The camp focuses on teamwork, creative problem solving and inventive thinking.
Jon Dudas, undersecretary for intellectual property, was in town for a two-day conference and stopped by the school to warn children against illegally copying music, movies and video games. As the Bush administration continues combating copyright infringement in foreign countries, specifically in China, Dudas aims to ensure the message is promoted in American schools.
"We don’t want to have that culture of copying or piracy in our nation," he said. "One of the things we decided we needed is education at younger ages. This is a great stage because they have that moral development."
In Jackie Radunz’s classroom, children were presented with an imaginary scenario where a cat kept spilling a glass of milk.
The students were charged with using recycled materials to stop the cat, Radunz said.
Dudas used examples of the children’s own inventions to promote his message.
"How would you feel if you made a video game or robot or cat trap and someone took your idea?" he asked the children during an assembly.