“Camp Invention combines science and creativity in a hands-on learning environment,” said director Sandra Plantz. “They work in groups and teams, and they have to cooperate.”
First through sixth grade students from Gallia and Jackson counties are learning about physics, inventions, and creativity, using a hands-on approach.
“It's so neat to see kids this motivated and excited about education,” said Plantz. “The teachers work as a facilitators and the kids are able to take ownership of the learning process. We give them the guidelines and let them run with their ideas.”
Participants spend part of every day in the week long camp working in each of four separate learning modules.
In each module, kids concentrate on using their imaginations to explore new ideas and ways of thinking.
“I like to see my imagination come to life,” said 10-year-old Marcus Moore.
The lessons focus on a well rounded combination of social, problem solving, and life skills in order to help students succeed in their education and eventually in the work force.
“They're learning to use their intuitive skills,” said counselor Jonathan Crews. “They're learning about structures and different types of transportation. It's all hands-on and I love it.”
“I get to create, which I love to do, and I get to meet new friends,” said 10-year-old Anthony Sipple.
”We're seeing leaders emerging naturally and they are learning to compromise,” said Plantz. “They're beginning to see that if you take my way and put it together with your way, we might find a better way together.”
In the “I Can Invent” module, they disassemble discarded appliances and recyclable materials, using the gears, magnets and motors inside to create new inventions.
“I'm taking apart an electronic dart board and making a new invention out of the parts,” said 11-year-old Tyler Phillips. “It's fun and we're making really cool stuff!”
“I like creating new stuff,” said 11-year-old Andrea Strauch. “I'm building a robot dog with an alarm on it. It's fun!”
Other modules include “Solve It: The Missing Inventor's Log,” “Tape Me To Your Leader,” and “Wild Blue Y'Under”.
“It's totally hands-on, so they get to actually experience what they're learning instead of just reading about it,” said counselor Carissa Wolfe. “They're really, really smart and they come up with things that you would never even think of. It's neat the way their minds work. They're so imaginative.”
“With inventions, kids really have to think outside the box,” said Plantz. “To create new things, you have to be a risk taker. You have to use your imagination to ask, ‘What if I did this or tried that?' That's the process of invention.”
Camp Invention will be hosting a showcase of all the projects created during the event at 2:45 p.m. on Friday, at McKenzie Hall at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College.