Calendar | Menus

Send a link to a friend

"The little-known stories behind well-known inventions"

Take this 'Inventor Aptitude Test' to see if you can invent          By Paul Niemann

[NOV. 22, 2006]  Today we get in the Wayback Machine and revisit your humble scribe's fourth-grade class at St. Mary's grade school, where our teacher, Mr. LoBue, once gave us an "Inventor Aptitude Test." At the time, I could not fathom how this test could possibly have anything to do with what I would eventually do for a living. Now I know.

I stumbled across the test this weekend while at my parents' home, so I present it to you so YOU can see if YOU have what it takes to be an inventor. While being a good inventor often requires thinking outside the box and drawing outside the lines, it sometimes requires that you follow directions, too.

To get the maximum enjoyment out of this test, take it with someone -- your spouse, your kids, the guys at the local bar or the ladies at the club. There are 22 items, and you will know where you stand after you take this test. Our fourth-grade class didn't do very well when we took it, but I'm sure that you will do much better. Grab a pen, and good luck!

1. Read everything before starting, and print out a copy.

2. Print your name in the right-hand corner of the paper.

3. If you think that Ben Franklin invented the Franklin stove, circle the word "name" in sentence 2.

4. Draw three small squares in the upper right-hand corner of this paper, next to where you printed your name.

5. Put an "X" in each square that you drew in sentence 4.

6. If you think Henry Ford invented the automobile, put a circle around each of the squares.

7. Sign your name at the bottom of the paper.

8. If you think John Deere invented a plow, write "yes yes yes" in these three blanks ______ ______ ______.

9. Draw a circle around sentence 7.

10. If you think the sewing machine was invented by Singer (possible trick question), put a big "X" in the lower left-hand corner of this paper.

[to top of second column]

11. Draw a triangle around the number of this sentence.

12. On the back of the paper, multiply 703 by 66 and write the answer here: ______

13. Loudly call out your first name when you get to this point.

14. Draw a rectangle around the word "paper" in sentence 7.

15. When you get to this point, yell out, "I'm at number 15."

16. Add 8,950 and 9,805 and write the answer here: ______

17. Put a circle around the answer in sentence 16, and then a square around the circle.

18. Count backward from 10 to 1 in your normal speaking voice.

19. If you are the first person to get to this point, loudly announce, "I got to number 19."

20. If you think the phonograph was invented by Edison, underline all the even numbers on this paper.

21. Loudly announce that you are nearly finished.

22. Now that you have finished reading carefully, please go back and do only sentences 1 and 2.

Like I said earlier, our fourth-grade class didn't do very well on this test either!

[Paul Niemann]

Paul Niemann may be reached at

Copyright Paul Niemann 2006

[Other columns]

< Recent articles

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor