Students recently got to use the time-tested tools of science and math to invent something during a camp at Coal Mountain Elementary School.
Camp Invention, a four-day science, technology, engineering and math offering, followed the national program of the same name. It is influenced by National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees and sponsored by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Each day of the camp, children would rotate through various creative-thinking sections to solve real-world challenges.
In one program, they had to keep themselves safe and nourished after crash-landing on a strange planet. They worked as a team to reassemble their damaged spacecraft from a variety of common objects.
They then researched relevant weather data to design shelter and clothing during their stay on the planet and used problem-solving skills to reach an unusual, hard-to-find food source.
Denise Webb, a science and literacy resource teacher, who headed the camp, called it a “wonderful experience.”
“The students always left excited to come back the next day and continue working on their inventions,” she said. “Many parents told me that all the way home their kids are telling about all the exciting things they did that day.”
In another scenario, the campers learned about environmental science and conservation when they were challenged to rebuild a cleaner, more eco-friendly city that has been polluted to the point of ruin.
They investigated and recreated the actions that polluted the city and determine effective methods to clean it up. They explored green city design, water filtration systems, safe waste disposal, conservation techniques, and renewable energy and eventually reconstructed the town.
“The teachers did a great job allowing the kids to explore, create, problem solve and refine team work skills [during the camp],” Webb said. “We also had wonderful leadership interns, high school students who lead each group of kids through the modules.”