Camp Invention sparks imaginations
|Students in first- through sixth-grades work on an island they built mostly from recycled materials, including milk cartons, pop bottles and cardboard, during Camp Invention at Nolley Elementary School.
The girls created a “Brother Catcher” device with an alarm to alert them that their brothers are near.
“When the alarm goes off, we’ll run and tackle them,” said Maggie, who has two brothers. Julia, who has one brother, also was pleased the alarm actually works.
This summer, 100 area students in first- through sixth-grades took part in Camp Invention at Nolley Elementary School, a day camp held June 18-22 where students focused on learning about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM learning), said Janet Toth, camp director and a Nolley fourth-grade teacher.
|Shown from left, Nolley fourth-graders Lauren Douglas and Sadie Reedy show off “The Splasher,” the balloon launcher they created. They used duct tape to secure screws at the bottom of the launcher to pop the balloons.|
|Photos: Joyce Rainey Long|
During the camp, students rotated to five different activities each day, said Toth, who has directed the program for nine years. Five teachers and 10 counselors, along with four student volunteers, worked at the enrichment program. Many of the counselors and volunteers were former campers, Toth said.
Camp Invention focuses on hands-on activities, brainstorming, teamwork, experiments and critical-thinking skills, Toth said. This year’s theme was “Envision,” and students learned about flight, light energy and magnetism, she said.
The goal of Camp Invention is for children to be “joyous about science and math ... and have that joy carry through for them” throughout their lives, said Holmes.
A favorite camp activity was “I can invent,” where students investigated broken appliances and looked for gears, magnets and motors, said Stefani Wise, a special education teacher for Coventry Local Schools who worked at the camp. Students worked all week in small groups to create water balloon bursters out of broken appliances and recycled products.
Students were divided into age groups, and each camp activity was adapted according to ability, Wise said.
Another popular activity was the action and adventure games that were held outside.
“The games don’t use athletic abilities, and scores don’t matter,” said Nancy Boyd, Nolley music teacher, who directed the action games. “They just had fun and learned to get along with others and to help one another.”
Sadie Reedy, a Nolley fourth-grader, said she hopes to be an inventor one day.
“All the activities are my favorites,” she said. “I learned it’s hard and easy to invent stuff.”
The hands-on learning can be helpful for students who may struggle in the classroom, said Maggie Klein, assistant camp director and a student at the University of Cincinnati.
“Students learn in different environments, and some who have difficulty with book or rote learning are impacted by the hands-on problem solving and teamwork,” said Holmes.
The camp curriculum is written by educators and changes each year, said Toth. The cost was $215.
“We see kids excited about learning. They loved being here,” Toth said.
For more information on Camp Invention, visit www.campinvention.org.
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