The Inventioneers from Londonderry took first place for their research project at the International Lego Tournament in Atlanta, Georgia. Left to right are team members Jaiden Evarts, Nick Vivian, Emily Balcom, Tristan Evarts, Sarah Heimlich, Paige Balcom, Drew Vivian. Missing from the photo are Conner Sheckler and Emily Sheckler.

The Inventioneers, New Hampshire's State Champion First Lego League team, traveled to Atlanta, Ga., to compete with teams from 38 countries vying for top awards at the FIRST World Festival last week.

The invitational tournament brings the top First Lego League teams from around the world together to compete in different areas of science and technology. The Inventioneers, a team of nine 9- to 14 year-olds, mostly from Londonderry, were awarded first place in nanotechnology research from a field of nearly 100 teams on Friday, April 13.

The students were overjoyed to be recognized as the top First Lego League team in the world in the area of research for their work to help alleviate the world's drinking water crisis.

"Over 1.2 billion people in the world don't have access to safe drinking water," their public awareness materials warn. "That's four times the number of people who live in the United States. One person dies every 8 seconds from contaminated water-related diseases."

The Inventioneers were able to design and build a prototype filtration system using a filter membrane that filters at the nano level | targeting particles as small as one-billionth of a meter. This means parasites and bacteria could be separated out of contaminated water. The other goal the team met was that their system would not require a power source.

One of the things the students are excited about is that this month their filtration design received a provisional patent, which gives it patent-pending status. Additionally, the team has contacted a Christian nonprofit relief agency that is interested in working with them to see how the two groups could bring the filtration system directly to the people who need it most.

The students have been working on this project since September 2006 and work will continue throughout the coming months and beyond.

To teach younger children about the field of nanotechnology, the world's drinking water crisis and water filtration, the Inventioneers wrote and illustrated an educational children's storybook filled with hands-on activities.

To learn more about their book, "Big Fun with Real Science for Kids," ask at your local library. If your library doesn't have a copy yet, have them contact the team at theinventioneers@yahoo.com and they will be happy to donate one to your children's room.

To find out more about the Inventioneers' project and what you can do to help with the unsafe drinking water crisis, contact the team at www.theinventioneers.com.

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