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Marketplace for Kids showcases student innovation

Ryan Jilek, executive vice president of Stark Development Corporation (left) and Sarah Trustem, director of the Dickinson Chamber of Commerce (right) listened to student ideas and gave ribbons to participants in the Hall of Great Ideas. (Iain Woessner/The Dickinson Press)1 / 2
Emmet Reis and Dawsyn Malkowski (left) showcase their "extinguisher grenade" concept to some members of the Dickinson Fire Department, Troy Berger and Brad Banyai. (Iain Woessner/The Dickinson Press)2 / 2

Dickinson hosted its 23rd Marketplace for Kids on Monday, bringing together dozens of school children from the area to learn and showcase their ideas during an all-day entrepreneurship event.

It all comes together in the Hall of Great Ideas, where some students had projects or inventions to showcase—some as simple as vet or animal-related services, and some a bit more high pressure.

"Our grenade is made to perform better than the original grenade," Emmet Reis, a sixth grader from Billings County Prairie Elementary School, Fairfield, said. "Instead of starting fires, it's to put out fires. It's a lot easier to use than a fire extinguisher."

The "grenade" in question is not an explosive, but rather a pressurized canister filled with fire suppressing chemicals. Reis, alongside his partner Dawsyn Malkowski, another sixth grader, are the "Chemical Bros" and they sought to create a fire suppression explosive out of a shared desire to make the world a safer place.

"We just like safety. It's an important part of living," Malkowski said. "It may not be easier (to use), but it's lighter and more mobile."

The Chemical Bros had an opportunity to pitch their idea to a potential customer—the Dickinson Fire Department. Troy Berger and Brad Banyai examined the small extinguisher grenade model Reis and Malkowski had constructed and came away impressed.

"It's a great idea, it could possibly work," Berger said. "There is stuff that is already similar to that, but they just took it one step further, did a great little twist on it."

"Being that young and coming up with a concept of an easier method of putting out fires, that's very impressive," Banyai added.

Malkowski described a few of the challenges their invention has faced in the two months they've spent devising it.

"Finding the (right) chemicals (was a challenge)," Malkowski said. "Just (trying) to find a certain chemical that can shoot and put out fires."

Another issue was an engineering one—how do you spread your suppression chemicals evenly?

"(Reis) thought of (a solution)," Malkowski said. "We made a nozzle that's at an angle, and since it's high-pressured, it will spin."

The level of forethought was not lost upon Berger, who praised the boys' thoroughness.

"Their reasons behind it are all very good, legitimate reasons," Berger said. "It's very insightful of them to look into it and further that once more."

Other ideas showcased at the Hall of Great Ideas were inventions like the "Cargo Companion," which is intended to retrieve items from the back of a dirty pick-up truck. Another device is intended to protect the user from bacon grease splatter while cooking.

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