LEESBURG, Va. (WUSA) -- We made two stops for this Cool Schools report: Leesburg, Va. and the White House. A team of fifth graders came up with an invention so impressive, the President of the United States even noticed!
Learning about the war in Afghanistan could be pretty daunting and the graphic scenes can be scary, but for these 11 year olds, it was a motivation to do something positive.
Jack Dudley, a student at Stone Hill Middle School in Ashburn, Va. told us, "Our inspiration for the project...Specialist Robert Warren lost part of his skull in an IED blast in Afghanistan."
Virginia 5th graders Jack Dudley, Sydney Dyyanni, Jovia Ho and Abby Porter started to look for ways to reduce traumatic brain injuries on the battlefield.
Abby Porter, who attends Harper Park Middle School, shared, "We took ideas from people, and we did a lot of research on out own."
They invented the "Heads Up Helmet" with new technology to improve existing head gear for troops.
Jack Dudley explained, "We used over lapping polyethylene plates to distribute kinetic forces."
Belmont Ridge Middle School student Sydney Dayyani added, "These microlayers are filled with shock absorbing gel."
The Heads Up Helmet even has an airbag.
"The collar goes completely around you neck. If it feels a change in air pressure it will completely inflate," explained Harper Park Middle School student Jova Ho.
Their research and design won the Toshiba Science Fair, but their amazing experience didn't stop there. Jack and Sydney got to share their project at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The Heads Up Helmet made it to the second annual White House Science Fair. Students from 45 states were there and this 5th grade team was the pride of Virginia.
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Sydney Dayyani was excited to meet the President: "I could believe I actually got to meet him in person. I thought I was just the average girl."
The parents couldn't be more excited either. Anthony Dayyani, Sydney's father, said, "It has to do with the environment. When you put these kids in a setting it's amazing, imagination is unlimited, there are no boundaries."
Jack Dudley's mother Brenda was the team mentor and science teacher Penni Harrison was its coach.
As Specialist Warren works on his long road to recovery, his inspiring story has created another: young scientists of the future using their brain pwoer to make a difference.
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