Camp Invention

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Campers create new items from old electronics

By Sharon Graves

Youngsters learned science can be fun last week as they took apart old electronic equipment and use it to build something like an egg launcher.


This project was part of Camp Invention held July 13-17 at Cartmell Elementary daily from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. where 90 local children took part in learning about different aspects of science, according to local camp director Jonica Ray.

Campers had the opportunity to look at their world using an imaginative lens focused on how to turn items normally thrown in the trash into working inventions. The older campers took advantage of the take-apart room and took apart electronic equipment they brought in and turned those pieces along with a lot of duct tape and hot glue into egg launchers.

Jessica Breeden and Joseph McNeese, two teachers in the primary grades of the Carroll County school system, worked in the take-apart room helping students disassemble items they brought in and then re-use those items to make something new. Campers had a myriad of tools to use in the process and had to wear goggles to protect their eyes.

“The students have really worked well together,” Breeden said.

At the beginning of the session on Thursday, McNeese went over the criteria for the egg launchers  the campers were building. He was helping them understand the requirements for the project and how many each team had completed.  

Campers also got to experience several other areas of interest, including comic book science, land sled extreme, and viking treasure trek. All the areas gave campers a hands on look at how to creatively solve problems and create things out of recyclable items, Ray explained.  

“You can begin to see who the leaders and the thinkers are,” she added.

Beth Sapp was in the land sled group and had several groups of students working as teams to build working land sleds out of cardboard, wheels, rope and of course duct tape, on Thursday.

Gail Becraft was in the hall helping one of her campers find a lost super hero he made in the comic book science section.

Ray explained that she has been in charge of Camp Invention for six years and she usually has 50 campers attend the week-long session. This year due to a grant they received to help defray expenses, they were able to take the cost of the camp from $200 per camper down to $50. “Many other campers could come at that price,” she said.

The camp also had five teacher instructors and eight high school helpers. The high school students were paid for their services as counselors, Ray explained.   

The Camp Invention program explores what are known as the STEM fields —  science, technology, engineering, and math, according to a press release from Raven DeVoll, with the corporate office of Camp Invention.  Finding the relevance in science is critical to attracting young students to study science seriously, the release stated.